Possible coup underway in Burundi


All major news agencies are reporting that a coup d’etat appears to be underway in Burundi.

President Pierre Nkurunziza sparked protests last month when he said that he would stand for a third term despite a two term limit built into the constitution. More than a dozen people were killed in continuing street violence as people, mainly in the capital Bujumbura, continued a campaign of daily protests.

Then earlier this month the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD–FDD) backed the President’s bid as did the Constitutional Court. The Presidential election is due to be held on 26th June.

The decision sparked further protests and violence with the police, seen to be on the side of the President, taking strong measures to try and control the crowds.

The army, which is largely seen as being neutral, entered the fray yesterday when Major General Godefroid Niyombare announced that the President had been sacked. Currently President Nkurunziza is in Tanzania attending a Heads of State meeting to discuss the current crisis in Burundi and presidential aide Willy Niyamitwe told Reuters “We consider it as a joke, not as a military coup.”

Crowds were gathering on the streets of the capital to cheer the coup this morning, but it is unclear who is in control as sporadic gunfire rings around the streets.

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