Burundian General Threatens To Lead Armed Uprising Against President Nkurunziza
General Leonard Ngendakumana has threatened to lead an armed uprising against Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza if he follows through with his plan to run for a third term in next week’s presidential elections.
Burundi held parliamentary elections on June 29th which were condemned by international observers and shunned by citizens for not being free or fair. Nkurunziza’s party, the CNDD-FDD, won 77 out of 100 National Assembly seats. Burundi’s presidential elections will be held on July 15th.
General Ngendakumana made the statements during an interview on Kenyan television at an undisclosed location outside of Burundi on Sunday. He subsequently attended a meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with leaders of East African countries and South Africa to discuss solutions to the political crisis rocking Burundi.
The East African countries attending the meeting called for the July 15th Burundi presidential election to be delayed to July 30, to allow mediation between opposing factions.
Ngendakumana is the deputy to General Godfried Niyombare who led the May 13th failed coup attempt.
“The next [step] is to organize ourselves just to resist, to make Pierre Nkurunziza understand that he must leave and then that we are prepared to do it by force, by organising a military force,” General Ngendakumana told Kenya’s KTN television, adding that coup leader General Godefroid Niyombare was still in Burundi.
Ngendakumana said Burundi’s government wanted “to engage the region in that civil war, based on ethnic [issues]”.
“Anybody threatening the security of Burundi, either inside or outside, will meet the full force of our defence and security forces,” presidential spokesman Gervais Abayeho said.
Nkurunziza’s opponents argue that his bid for a third term violates the constitution and a peace deal which ended an ethnically charged civil conflict in 2005. His announcement incited weeks of violent clashes between protesters and police in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbara.