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Burundi: 17 arrested in connection with attempt to overthrow President Nkurunziza


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(By Estera Popowska)

At least 17 people were arrested on Saturday by Burundi’s government in connection with a failed coup attempt to overthrow President Pierre Nkurunziza. VOA says the arrests included at least three generals and two police commissioners. A presidential spokesman told VOA's Gabe Joselow that the leader of the coup attempt, General Godefroid Niyombare, remained at large. 

On Saturday some 100 demonstrators in the Burundian capital of Bujumbura protested President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term but   President Nkurunziza had in a radio address Friday, warned against further demonstrations. According to reports, at least 14 people have been killed  and more than 200 wounded since President Nkurunziza’s announcement three weeks ago that he would seek re-election.

President Nkurunziza, who took office in 2005  had been in Tanzania for a regional summit on Burundi's political situation when Army General Niyombare announced the coup attempt Wednesday, triggering two days of violence between rival army factions.

In his radio address, Mr. Nkurunziza reportedly  thanked his security forces for stopping the military coup against the government. He spoke after returning to the capital, where thousands of supporters lined the streets and cheered his motorcade.

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