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Three generals arrested over failed Burundi president coup

A police general and two army generals have been arrested in Burundi for their part in a failed coup to overthrow the country's president.

It follows weeks of protests over the presidential announcement Credit: Reuters

While the leader of the coup, Major General Godefroid Niyombare, remains on the run, government forces have gained control of capital city Bujumbura back from rebels who supported the ousting of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

The attempt to seize power came after weeks of rioting and violent protests sparked by Nkurunziza's announcement that he intended to run for a third term, which many saw as violating the country's constitution limiting presidents to two terms.

Protests have turned violent Credit: Reuters

His supporters, backed by the country's court, said his first term was exempt from the rule as he was chosen by law-makers, rather than voted in in an election.

But critics have questioned the court's impartiality in making that decision.

Burundi's president returns to country amid coup attempt

The president of Burundi has returned to the country following an attempt to overthrow him.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. Credit: Reuters

Pierre Nkurunziza - who sparked protests when he confirmed he would stand for another term in office - had been in Tanzania on Wednesday when the attempted coup happened.

"President Nkurunziza is back in Burundi after the attempted coup. He congratulates the army, the police and the Burundian people," the message from the presidential office said.

It follows violent clashes in the capital Bujumbura, where broadcasts on state radio had to be briefly suspended after heavy gunfire was heard at its headquarters.

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State radio in Burundi back on the air as loyalists take over

Burundi's state radio is back on the air, a presidential spokesman has said, as forces loyal to Pierre Nkurunziza take control.

The station had stopped broadcasting after heavy gunfire was heard at its headquarters in capital city Bujumbura, but resumed this afternoon by playing music.

The spokesman said loyalists were also in control of Bujumbura airport.

It follows an attempted coup by armed forces following weeks of rioting and violent protests against Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term, which some argue violates the country's constitution.

Burundi state radio stops broadcast amid gunfire at HQ

Burundi state radio has stopped broadcasting, as witnesses reported hearing heavy gunfire coming from the station's headquarters, according to Reuters.

There has been fighting in the area between forces loyal to current President Pierre Nkurunziza, and the supporters of a failed coup staged by the army.

One of the stations attacked was used by Major General Godefroid Niyombare to announce he had "sacked" the president yesterday.

Nkurunziza has condemned the "coup plotters", but said he would forgive soldiers who surrender.

Burundi president pleads for calm after army coup fails

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza has appealed for calm after weeks of rioting and violent protests at his decision to run for a third term.

The president has appealed for calm after weeks of violent protests Credit: Reuters

It comes as the head of the country's army, Chief of Staff General Prime Niyongabo, admitted an attempted coup had failed, with forces loyal for Nkurunziza controlling "all strategic points".

The Burundi constitution and a peace agreement which helped end an ethnically-fuelled war in 2005 limits presidents to only standing for two terms.

But he has argued that his first term did not count, as he was appointed by law-makers, rather than elected.

Protesters say the president's decision violates their constitution Credit: Reuters

More than 20 people have been killed in the protests, while an estimated 70,000 people have fled to neighbouring nations to get away from the fighting.

Heavy gunfire has also been heard near two private radio stations in the capital city Bujumbura, one of which carried the announcement yesterday by General Godefroid Niyombare that he had "sacked" the president.

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Mahama: 'Africa could seek UN mandate to fight'

Ghana's President John Mahama has said the African Union could ultimately seek a UN mandate for a force to fight Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamist insurgents but it must first establish its own regional military operation to combat the militants.

Ghana's President John Mahama (centre). Credit: Reuters

West African leaders will seek a mandate from the African Union at a summit meeting next week to put together a multinational force and it will be months before the force is ready, said Mahama, who chairs the West African body.

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