Burundi Coup Fails as Leader ReturnsMay 15, 2015 in Burundi
An attempt earlier this week to overthrow Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza ended in failure on Friday as coup leaders admitted defeat and were either arrested or forced to go on the run.
Earlier this week, General Godefroid Niyombare launched a coup in the Central African nation as the country’s president was in neighbouring Tanzania to participate in regional talks on the on-going crisis in Burundi. On Friday a spokesman for the president confirmed that Burundian forces have arrested General Nyiombare. Earlier in the day, a senior police official had indicated “General Niyombare has evaded us but we know where he is hiding,” adding that he is believed to have fled to a southern district of the capital. Two senior army officers and a police general, who have been accused of taking part in the attempted coup, have been arrested.
The dramatic end to the coup attempt effectively ended 48 hours of uncertainty as questions arose who was in charge of the country, which in recent weeks has been gripped by a political crisis over President Nkurunziza’s controversial bid to stand for a third consecutive term in office. Wednesday’s coup announcement resulted in international criticism. In emergency talks on the crisis on Thursday, the United Nations Security Council condemned the coup attempt and called for a swift return to the rule of law. The United States State Department indicated that Nkurunziza remained the legitimate president.
On Friday, the presidency announced that President Nkurunziza was back in the capital Bujumbura and that he will soon address the nation. According to an aide to the president, “he is in Bujumbura in a very secure place,” adding that he will address the nation today. The streets of Bujumbura were mostly calm, following fighting that erupted on Thursday between loyalist troops and forces supporting the General. On the ground sources have reported that police set up checkpoints along a highway in the southern region of the country. Protesters have indicated that they will return to the streets, a move that will likely lead to more clashes.