They’re a rarity these days but under the most extreme circumstances a coup d’état would spring up and it seems that’s the case in Burundi.
President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would be running for a third term, despite the constitution limiting the President to two terms. It sparked off series of protests that led to the death of 20 people with over 200 injured in clashes with police.
Amidst all this, the Burundian army have announced a coup to take over running of the country. The President was in Tanzania for a regional summit when the announcement was made. General Godfroid Niyombare, a former close ally of the President who was fired as Intelligence chief in February, led the coup.
He made the announcement on radio, according to the BBC. “The masses have decided to take into their own hands the destiny of the nation to remedy this unconstitutional environment into which Burundi has been plunged”
The people are reported to support the actions of the soldiers, although it’s unclear if they hold enough power to make the coup stick. The Presidential Palace and the State broadcaster are still under the control of forces loyal to the President, with a presidential aide dismissing the coup.
But new reports also show the President’s attempt to return from Dar er Salaam was thwarted, as his plane had to return back to the Tanzanian capital after only ten minutes in the air, with General Niyombare having ordered the main airport closed.
The situation remains muddy, and the coming hours and days would determine who’s really in charge of the East African nation.