Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza, has announced that he will forgive all soldiers who participated in yesterday’s coup against his government.
While speaking in a transmitted broadcast on state radio (which later stopped) on Thursday, Nkurunziza said: “I condemn that group of coup plotters. I thank soldiers who are putting things in order, and I forgive any soldier who decides to surrender.”
The broadcast was then cut short by gunshots coming from the area of the state broadcasting headquarters, according to Reuters.
“We are being attacked. It is very heavy. The transmitter has been cut. We cannot transmit,” a station director told AFP by telephone from inside the building.
The struggle for control of the broadcaster came after pro-Nkurunziza loyalists destroyed several independent radio stations which had been used by the rebel troops to broadcast their messages.
Before broadcasts were halted, a general supporting the coup told AFP that the main units fighting to oust the president had been ordered to seize the station, and vowed “this should be done quickly because we have the means”.
A military source told BBC that loyalist forces are in control of the city centre, airport, presidential palace, national radio and TV.
“The national RTBN radio is back on air, under the control of troops loyal to President Nkrunziza,” the source said.
The coup follows unrest caused by Nkurunziza’s nomination to run for a third term in office come June elections.
Earlier, Army Chief of Staff, General Prime Niyongabo, in a statement broadcast on state radio said: “The coup attempt failed, loyal forces are still controlling all strategic points.”
Nkurunziza too said in a statement that he was still in charge of the country yet he is still hiding in Tanzania.
Army chief, Major General Godefroid Niyombare yesterday dismissed Nkurunziza because his third presidential bid violated the constitution saying they have instated a team to run the country.
EAC, EU, AU and Uganda have condemned the coup saying it won’t solve Burundi’s problems hence calling for a return to constitutional order.