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Army general attempts coup against Burundi's president

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By Seamus Kearney
Army general attempts coup against Burundi's president

An army general in Burundi says he has dismissed the country’s president.

Godefroid Niyombare says he has also sacked the government of Pierre Nkurunziza.

A presidential aide, however, dismissed the reports as a ‘joke’.

President Nkurunziza is out of the country, attending a summit of East African leaders in Tanzania.

Demonstrations had been taking place for weeks over the president’s plans to run for a third five-year term.

The constitution and a peace plan allow for two presidential terms.

The army general says he is now working on the formation of a transitional government ahead of new elections.

Niyombare, who is a former ambassador to Kenya, spoke to reporters at a military barracks in Bujumbura.

“Regarding President Nkurunziza’s arrogance and defiance of the international community, which advised him to respect the constitution and Arusha peace agreement, the committee for the establishment of the national concord decide: President Nkurunziza is dismissed, his government is dismissed too,” he said.

Niyombare was surrounded by several other senior army and police figures, including a former defence minister.