Nkurunziza: I’m still in charge of Burundi

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza holds a news conference in Brussels

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza holds a news conference in Brussels


“Former” Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza, (whereabouts unknown) has dismissed Wednesday military coup against his presidency saying he “is still in charge of the country”.

Nkurunziza who was attending an EAC Summit on Burundi crisis in Tanzania, only learnt that soldiers led by Gen Godefroid Niyombare had announced a coup, overthrowing him.

After the summit, Nkurunziza tweeted claiming the coup attempt had been stopped and those behind the coup shall be prosecuted.

Shortly after, Burundi presidency issued a statement backing his utterances.

“It is with regret that we have learned that a military group has mutinied this morning and made a statement fanciful to coup d ‘ état,” the statement read.

“The Presidency of the Republic announced to the opinion, whether national or international, that this attempted coup d ‘état was foiled and that these people, who have read this news release coup d’ état via private local radio stations are wanted by the defence forces and of security so that they are brought to justice. “

The Presidency of the Republic asked the Burundian people and to foreigners living in Burundi to keep calm and serenity.

“Everything is implemented so that the security throughout the National Territory is maintained.”

The Presidential spokesman, Willy Nyamitwe, also said those who had attempted to stage a coup had been overpowered and the situation returned to normalcy.

“We consider it as a joke not as a military coup,” said Nyamitwe.

He claimed that Niyombare announced a coup and then run off and is currently being hunted down by security forces.

Yet, reports show that Niyombare has given orders sealing the borders and taking over the airport to prevent Nkurunziza from returning home.

Burundi national airport is now closed, runaway lights are off and no planes are allowed to land.

A Brussels airline flight headed to Bujumbura was diverted to Nairobi by army forces loyal to Gen Niyombare.

All Burundi borders are also currently closed.

EAC chairman, Jakaya Kikwete, has condemned the coup calling upon actors to return to constitutional leadership.

Kikwete warned Nkurunziza not to seek a third term but the latter insisted sparking off three-week protests in the capital that have culminated into a coup today.

Unconfirmed reports say Nkurunziza has just returned to Serena Hotel in Dar es Salaam after his flight to Burundi aborted.

“He never left Tanzania airspace,” said an eyewitness while others claim he is headed to Uganda or Kenya.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has urged for restraint and calm as the leaders resolve the Burundi crisis.

Meanwhile, army chiefs are said to be holding a closed door meeting in the capital.

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