Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza flew out of Tanzania yesterday and he is not in the East African nation now, spokesperson for the Tanzanian government Salvator Rweyemamu tells a BBC correspondent.
He could not confirm whether or not he was able to land in Burundi on Wednesday evening, but said that he did not return to Tanzania.
This is contrary to other sources in Dar es Salaam that point to him still being in Tanzania, including a government source last night.
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, the target of an attempted coup in his East African nation, was reported to be in a secret location in Tanzania’s port city of Dar es Salaam, according to official Tanzanian sources early on Thursday.
“He is in Dar es Salaam, we cannot tell you where. We cannot bring him to the same hotel for security reasons,” one of the sources, a senior Tanzanian presidential security official, told AFP.
Nkurunziza was in Tanzania on Wednesday for talks with regional leaders when a top general announced he was launching a coup to stop the president from seeking a controversial third term in office.
The president tried to return home by flight but pro-coup security forces closed the airport. Burundi’s armed forces chief announced Thursday that an attempted coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza had failed, although the claim was quickly denied by opponents.
The two sides have been battling for the control of the country’s national radio and TV stations. Forces loyal to Pierre Nkurunziza have also reportedly retaken control of the country’s international airport.
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.
The general has ordered the closure of Bujumbura airport and the landlocked nation’s borders, and declared he had the support of “many” high-ranking army and police officials.
Hundreds of people took to the streets in celebration after the coup announcement, shouting “Victory!” and sounding car horns. Cheering crowds were also seen walking alongside marching soldiers and climbing aboard tanks in the lakeside capital.
The outcome of the coup attempt remains uncertain.