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Heavy fighting erupts between rival Burundi troops – witnesses

Witnesses said rival factions of the armed forces, divided between supporters of the coup attempt and the president’s loyalists, were exchanging heavy machine gun and rocket fire around the state television and radio complex, which is held by the president’s supporters.

People burn mattresses looted from the local police post on 13 May, 2015 in Musaga neighborhood in Bujumbura, during a protest against incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a 3rd term. Protestors looted the local police post in Musaga, burning furniture, mattresses and clothing in a barricade fire, an AFP photographer said. Burundi's presidency said an attempted coup by a top general had "failed" on May 13, 2015 and pro-president Burundi troops at state broadcaster fire warning shots over the heads of hundreds of protesters. Nkurunziza, who was attending a regional crisis meeting in neighbouring Tanzania, flies home to Burundi on May 13 hours after Burundian general Godefroid Niyombare announced a coup. AFP PHOTO
People burn mattresses looted from the local police post on 13 May, 2015 in Musaga neighborhood in Bujumbura, during a protest against incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a 3rd term. Protestors looted the local police post in Musaga, burning furniture, mattresses and clothing in a barricade fire, an AFP photographer said. Burundi’s presidency said an attempted coup by a top general had “failed” on May 13, 2015 and pro-president Burundi troops at state broadcaster fire warning shots over the heads of hundreds of protesters. Nkurunziza, who was attending a regional crisis meeting in neighbouring Tanzania, flies home to Burundi on May 13 hours after Burundian general Godefroid Niyombare announced a coup. AFP PHOTO

According to a pro-coup military source, the RTNB complex was attacked in the early hours of the morning after Burundi‘s armed forces chief used state radio to announce that the coup had failed.

A journalist inside the complex confirmed heavy fighting raged through the early hours of the morning and after dawn, with heavy weapons including cannons and rockets being used.

A top Burundian general, former intelligence chief Godefroid Niyombare, launched the coup on Wednesday, capping weeks of violent protests against the president’s controversial bid for a third term.

Nkurunziza was outside the country in neighbouring Tanzania when the coup was launched and has been blocked from returning to the central African nation by pro-coup troops who have seized the airport.

 


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