'I hope they won't kill us': Burundi generals arrested as President appears to regain control

An attempted coup appears to have failed in the small African state

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The Independent Online

Three generals have been arrested for their part in a failed coup to overthrow the sitting Burundi president, reports claim.

The desperately poor African nation has been thrown back into chaos after the aborted attempt to seize power from President Pierre Nkurunziza, currently attempting to run for his third - possibly unconstitutional - term.

Although three generals, including the former Minister of Defence Cyrille Ndayirukiye, have allegedly been arrested the leader of the failed coup Major General Godefroid Niyombare remains “on the run,” according to a government spokesperson.

It remains unclear where General Niyombare is after reports circulated that he had told an AFP reporter his forces had decided to surrender to government troops, but added: “I hope they won’t kill us.”

Five soldiers were killed in the capital Bujumbura yesterday.

International observers have watched events in Burundi with increasing concern after protesters took to the streets last month to demonstrate President Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term.

Opponents claim that his decision violates the constitution – established in 2005 after a particularly vicious civil war – and approximately 20 civilians have died in protests so far.

Following the announcement of the now unsuccessful coup, thousands apparently came back onto the streets to celebrate.

President Nkurunziza, who was in neighbouring Tanzania when the attempt unfolded, tweeted that he was now back in the country.

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President Nkurunziza (centre) has now returned to Burundi

Reporters on the ground note that much of the capital city’s key institutions – including the airport and national state TV – appeared to be under the control of forces loyal to the government.

The president’s spokesperson, Gervais Abayeho, also confirmed that elections were still planned and that “The president is in a good mood, he doesn't see any problem at all."

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