Wednesday 13 May 2015

Breaking news: President PierreNkurunziza of Burundi overthrown

A top Burundian general on Wednesday announced
the overthrow of President Pierre Nkurunziza,
following weeks of violent protests against the
president’s bid to stand for a third term.
Godefroid Niyombare, a powerful former intelligence
chief, announced the coup attempt hours after the
president left for neighbouring Tanzania for talks
with regional leaders on ending the crisis.

“President Pierre Nkurunziza is removed from
office, the government is dissolved,” General
Niyombare said in the radio broadcast.
“All people
are asked to respect the lives and property of
others,” he added. Niyombare is a highly respected
figure who was sacked from his position as the
central African nation’s powerful chief of
intelligence in February.
The general said on private
radio that he was committed to the democratic
process and would work with others towards
holding elections.
He said he would form a “committee for the
restoration of national harmony,” a temporary body
whose “mission, among others, is the restoration of
national unity… and the resumption of the electoral
process in a peaceful and fair environment.” There
was no immediate reaction from Nkurunziza, who
was in neighbouring Tanzania to meet with leaders
of the five-nation East African Community (EAC) —
made up of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda
as well as Burundi — who are trying to mediate an
end to the crisis.
Over 20 people have been killed and scores
wounded since late April, when Burundi’s ruling
CNDD-FDD party nominated Nkurunziza to stand
for re-election in June 26 polls. Weeks of clashes
between security forces and demonstrators have
raised fears of a return to widespread violence in
Burundi, which is still recovering from a brutal 13-
year civil war that ended in 2006. The African Union,
European Union and United States have condemned
the actions of Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader
from the Hutu majority who has been in power for a
Despite intense international pressure, Nkurunziza
has repeatedly rejected international calls to end his
bid for a third term. Opposition groups insist that it
is unconstitutional for Nkurunziza to run for more
than two terms. But he argues that his first
presidential term did not count as he was elected by
parliament, not directly by the people. Asked to rule
on the issue, the constitutional court found in his
favour but not before one of the judges fled the
country claiming its members were subject to death
More than 50,000 Burundians have also
fled into neighbouring nations in recent weeks, with
the UN preparing for thousands more to come.

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