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Burundi under threat from Somali Islamist movement al-Shabab- President Nkurunziza


SomaNet News Archive

(By Estera Popowska)

Burundi faces a specific threat from the Somali Islamist movement al-Shabab, Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza has said, BBC reported Sunday.President Nkurunziza said he came to his office to speak on the telephone with the leaders of Kenya and Uganda regarding a specific threat from the Islamist group al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab, which is battling the UN-backed government in Somalia, has carried out a string of attacks in neighbouring Kenya and is allied to al-Qaeda. BBC says The UK Foreign Office and the  US State department says  al-Shabab has threatened to carry out attacks in Burundi because of its role in the African Union-led peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

Meanwhile, the US has advised its citizens to leave the country because of the deteriorating political situation, and had previously warned about the threat from al-Shabab

President Nkurunziza was appearing in public in the capital Bujumbura for the first time since a failed coup bid against him was launched on Wednesday. According to BBC, Mr Nkurunziza did not mention of the coup attempt, which came after weeks of sometimes violent protests against him.

On Saturday 18 people appeared in court on charges of helping the coup bid. The alleged ringleader, Godefroid Niyombare, is reporedly  still on the run.

Opposition in Burundi and activists are reportedly  planning more protests for Monday against Mr Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term in office in elections due next month. The BBC's Karen Allen, who is in Bujumbura, says the president's claims have been met with scepticism from many, who fear they could provide a pretext for the security services to crack down hard on Monday's demonstrations.

Mr Nkurunziza was in Tanzania when military officers launched their coup bid against him on Wednesday. He returned on Friday after forces loyal to him had regained full control.