Page last updated at 20:15 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Burundi arrests 'coup plotters'

Pierre Nkurunziza
Former rebel leader Pierre Nkurunziza won elections in 2005

Thirteen soldiers in Burundi have been arrested for plotting a coup to overthrow President Pierre Nkurunziza, the army chief of staff has said.

Major Gen Godefroid Niyombare said the 12 soldiers and one officer had been caught in a meeting near Lake Tanganyika earlier on Friday.

Correspondents say there are fears this may affect elections due in June.

They will be the second polls to be held in country since the end of the deadly 12-year, ethnic-based civil war.

Major Gen Niyombare said those arrested were from both the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.

Investigations were ongoing and more arrests should be expected, he added.

In 2007, former President Domitien Ndayizeye was acquitted of charges of plotting a coup.

A former rebel leader himself, President Nkurunziza was elected five years ago under a deal to end the years of conflict between the Tutsi army and Hutu rebels.

Some 300,000 people are believed to have died during the war.

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