The attempted coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza in Burundi appears to have failed, as several leaders of the anti-government forces were arrested this morning and others voluntarily gave up. Coup leader Maj. Gen. Godefroid Niyombare said, “We have decided to surrender. I hope they won’t kill us.” An end to the coup may dial down temperatures somewhat, but tensions remain over President Nkurunziza’s bid to hold on to power. Reuters:
“Protests to reject the third term bid for Nkurunziza will continue,” said Gordien Niyungeko, deputy head of Focode, one of the 300 civil society groups that backed protests. “Our movement had nothing to do with the attempted coup or the failed coup.”
A group of young men in the Cibitoke suburb of Bujumbura, an area where there were frequent rallies in past weeks, said they had been warned by police men that they would be treated as rebels and shot at if they demonstrated.
In the meantime, large numbers of people have been leaving the country. The U.N. reports that more than 105,000 people have left Burundi for neighboring Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their living conditions are dire. In one Tanzanian lakeside village normally home to 12,000, about 50,000 refugees are living in such squalor that a disease outbreak is likely. The coup may be over, but the chaos continues.