Burundi’s coup leader not arrested

Burundian army general behind the failed coup plot is still free despite reports otherwise

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Despite previously announcing the capture of all army generals responsible for the failed coup, Burundian presidency spokesman said on late Friday that Godefroid Niyombare, the main army general behind the coup plot remains free at large.

Major General Godefroid Niyombare "has not been arrested", presidential spokesman Gervais Abayeho told Reuters. He said the source of his earlier statement had corrected the information.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term caused unrest that plunged the east african nation to its worst crises ever since a racial civil war that ended in 2005.

The country’s constitution clearly stipulates a president can only serve for two terms, Nkurunziza’s supporters say he is able to  serve for a third time because his first was not via elections, but with a collective choice of law makers.

A coup attempt by top army generals was announced nearly a month into the crises, but soon Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza's returned to the capital on Friday.

In an address on the small east African country's state radio, Nkurunziza urged an end to weeks of demonstrations over his quest for a third term in office.

"There is peace in the whole country, including in the capital city where the coup-makers were operating," he said after a day of clashes in which at least a dozen people were killed.

"Whoever wants to bring trouble in the country will not go far."

The European Union, Belgium and the Netherlands have all suspended some aid due to the unrest, particularly donations linked to the elections, which alongside the presidential polls also include a parliamentary race scheduled for May 26.

In his radio address, Nkurunziza called on the international community to support Burundi, saying any suspension of aid by donors would only "opens doors to trouble" and help those who want to "seize power by force" rather than through democratic means.

TRTWorld and agencies