Bujumbura Burundi: Violence erupted across Bujumbura a day after a former intelligence chief, Gen Godefroid Niyombare attempted to overthrow President Pierre Nkurunziza. The people said it is unconstitutional for him to run for more than two terms. Nkurunziza, however, argues his first term did not count as he was elected by parliament, not directly by the people.

At least 50,000 civilians have fled to Rwanda and other neighbouring countries.

Heavy gunfire rang out from the direction of the ruling CNDD-FDD party headquarters in Bujumbura, which witnesses said were being guarded by police. The people are confused who is in control of the capital.

Early on Thursday, the army chief of staff, Gen Prime Niyongabo, announced that he did not support the attempted coup. Niyongabo said he had negotiated with those supporting the coup but if they “did not understand talking, we will make them understand by force”.

Heavy fighting flared around the state broadcasting headquarters, forcing radio transmissions to stop. They resumed after the shooting stopped to announce that state radio was still in the hands of forces loyal to the president. The state broadcaster is seen as a strategic asset for both sides to reach the population.

Earlier, the African Public Radio station, which was shut down and reopened after the coup attempt, was set alight and prevented from broadcasting. Heavy plumes of smoke rose from the building. Radio Bonesha a private station, was also attacked by people with grenades and gunfire.

Burundi’s international airport was shut then reportedly reopened and taken over by party loyalists.

On October 21, 1993, Burundi's first democratically elected Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye was assassinated by Tutsi extremists after 3 months of becoming a president. As a result, violence broke out between the two groups, Hutu and Tutsi. It was estimated that at least 50,000 to 100,000 people died within a year. A 1996 UN report into Ndadaye's assassination and its aftermath, concluded that "acts of genocide against the Tutsi minority were committed in Burundi in October 1993"

In 1994, Ndadaye’s successor, Cyprien Ntaryamira was also Hutu was assassinated.


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