Rival military groups battled for control of the Burundi capital on Thursday after a former intelligence chief staged an attempted coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza.
The efforts to overthrow Nkurunziza, who has sparked widespread unrest by trying to run for a third term, met with heavy armed opposition from military loyal to the president, with a deputy leader of the coup eventually saying it had failed. The president, in Tanzania when the uprising was launched, was said to have returned to the country.
Heavy gunfire rang out from the direction of the ruling CNDD-FDD party headquarters in Bujumbura, which witnesses said were being guarded by police. At times it was difficult to determine who was in control of the city, with periods of relative calm broken by bouts of gunfire in the evening. Five soldiers were reportedly killed in clashes.
Late in the day a deputy leader of the coup, General Cyrille Ndayirukiye, told the Agence France-Presse news agency: “Personally I recognise that our movement has failed”.
“We were faced with an overpowering military determination to support the system in power,” he said.
Burundi has been a tinderbox since Major General Godefroid Niyombare, a former intelligence chief who was fired three months ago, announced that Nkurunziza had been ousted after weeks of civil unrest triggered by the president’s attempt to stand for a third term.
Read more at theguardian.com