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The BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge
"There is some kind of discontent among the population"
 real 28k

Friday, 20 April, 2001, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Inquiry into Burundi coup set up
President Buyoya at a press conference in Burundi
President Buyoya said he was surprised by the coup attempt
Burundi is setting up a commission of inquiry to look into Wednesday's failed coup attempt.


The government categorically condemns... all those who attempt to challenge the achievements of the peace process

First vice-president Frederic Bamvuginyumvira
First vice-president Frederic Bamvuginyumvira said on state radio that those "found guilty will be punished in accordance with the law".

The announcement came after a meeting of the National Security Council.

The council reaffirmed the government's commitment to on-going peace process that is trying to find a solution to the civil war.

Mr Bamvuginyumvira said "the government categorically condemns and warns all those who attempt to challenge the achievements of the peace process".

President Pierre Buyoya returned home to a calm capital city on Thursday.

He had been out of the country attending peace talks in Gabon when the attempted coup took place.

Surprise

Speaking at a press conference, the president said he was surprised that fellow Burundians could think of perpetrating such an act at this stage in the peace process.

The BBC correspondent in Burundi says that all was quiet in Bujumbura, with the inhabitants of the city going about their business as if nothing had happened.

Burundian soldiers on patrol
Soldiers have been patroling the streets
The coup attempt by a group of junior army officers in Burundi ended with the officers giving up control of state radio, according to the authorities there.

The Defence Minister, Cyrille Ndayirukiye, said that all the soldiers who had taken over the radio on Wednesday - including the officer who led the coup - had given themselves up peacefully and were in custody.

No-one had been killed or wounded, Mr Ndayirukiye said.

The 30 dissident officers from the Tutsi-dominated army were opposed to President Pierre Buyoya's negotiations with Hutu rebels.

Unknown group

The radio station was seized at 1630 (1430 GMT) on Wednesday by a group calling itself the Patriotic Youth Front.

After the guard fled, the soldiers played a tape announcing President Buyoya's removal from office, the dissolution of the National Assembly and the closure of the airport.

The statement was attributed to Lieutenant Gaston Ntakarutimana, a commander at the Gakumbo military camp, which is responsible for protecting the airport.

The group had never been heard of before.

The radio station was surrounded by forces loyal to the government - but the army decided not to storm it, opting instead to wait until the rebels gave themselves up.

Our correspondent in the region says one theory is that the rebels were supposed to have been joined by a second larger group who, in fact, failed to go ahead with the plan.

She also says there is speculation in Bujumbura, that the coup attempt may have been stage-managed to boost the waning popularity of President Buyoya.

Peace talks

Mr Buyoya was in Libreville, Gabon, at the time for peace talks with the leader of the main rebel group fighting the government in the country's civil war.

He was in a meeting with South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, when news of the coup was broadcast, a spokesman for Mr Zuma said.

More than 200,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Burundi since 1993, when civil war broke out after soldiers from the Tutsi minority killed the first democratically -elected president, a Hutu.

A peace accord was signed last August in Arusha, Tanzania, by 19 parties involved in the conflict, but it was rejected by the two rebel movements and fighting has continued.

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See also:

25 Aug 00 | Africa
Burundi's deadly deadlock
02 Mar 01 | Africa
50,000 flee Burundi fighting
02 Feb 01 | Africa
Burundi hunger crisis warning
26 Feb 01 | Africa
Burundi peace talks fail
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Burundi
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