Burundi president Nkurunziza sacks ministers amid protests over election bid

Burundi’s president has sacked three cabinet ministers, as protests resumed after last week’s failed coup.

A spokesman for the president told the BBC that President Pierre Nkurunziza had dismissed his defence, external relations and trade ministers in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday.

It comes amid protests against the president running for a third term in elections due next month.

Mr Nkurunziza returned from Tanzania last week after a failed coup.

The BBC’s Ruth Nesoba says soldiers fired warning shots to disperse crowds on Monday morning as youths barricaded roads.

Protestors run as soldiers fire shots in the air during a demonstration in Bujumbura on May 18, 2015
Soldiers fired live rounds into the air

Protesters were chanting for President Nkurunziza to drop his plans to seek a third term in elections.

Some businesses were closed and activities stopped in the Nyakabiga, Musaga and Mutakura neighbourhoods of Bujumbura, says our reporter.

However, she says life carried on as normal in areas where the president is popular.

On Sunday, Kenya’s president called his Burundian counterpart, urging him to delay the elections.

Several alleged leaders of the coup attempt have been arrested but Gen Godefroid Niyombare, who announced it in a radio broadcast, remains on the run.

President Nkurunziza made his first official appearance in front of international media since returning from Tanzania on Sunday.

The president said nothing about the coup plot or the current crisis in the country.

Instead, he said Burundi faced a specific threat from the Somali Islamist movement al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mahamud Rage denied this, saying the statement was intended “to divert the world’s attention from him”.

Burundi has troops fighting al-Shabab, as part of the African Union mission in Somalia.

Next ArticleTeacher Arrested for Defiling Standard 8 Pupil