Burundi arrest 3 generals over coup attempt, leader on the run

VENTURES AFRICA – The spokesman of the President of Burundi said this morning that security forces have arrested three generals for their role in an attempted coup in Burundi, but that the leader of the group was “still on the run.”

Among those arrested are a police general and two army generals, including former Defence Minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye, spokesman Gervais Abayeho said. He told Reuters that Major General Godefroid Niyombare, who led the coup attempt, was “still on the run, his whereabouts are not known to us.”

On Wednesday, former intelligence chief, Major General Godefroid Niyombare announced that he was dismissing President Pierre Nkurunziza seeking a third term against the Arusha accords that ended the country’s civil war a decade ago. The General’s statement, announced on national radio, was followed by an attempt to seize government institutions, the state radio and seal the Airport to prevent the president, who was at that time in Tanzania, from returning.

However, despite the support from some prominent persons in the security forces and a significant segment of the civilian populace, many of whom have been protesting Nkurunziza’s third term bid, Niyombare’s coup failed to overthrow the president. By Thursday, the early gains of seizing the airport and government institutions had been reversed by forces loyal to the President, led by the Chief of Army Staff. President Nkurunziza returned to Burundi on the same day, his office said, as the army chief declared putsch failed.