An army general in Burundi announced on Wednesday that the military had ousted President Pierre Nkurunziza, setting off celebrations in the streets among protesters who had been trying to block the president’s bid for another term. “President Pierre Nkurunziza is removed from office,” Maj. Gen. Godefroid Niyombare said in a broadcast on a radio station in the capital, Bujumbura. In explaining the coup, General Niyombare said the president had killed opponents and protesters, overseen a corrupt government and — by seeking a third term — had disregarded the 2000 peace agreement and the 2005 Constitution to end the country’s civil war.
It was not immediately clear whether the general had the backing of the army, or whether a coup had been carried out successfully.
But soon after the announcement, police officers who had been clashing with protesters in downtown Bujumbura began withdrawing, while demonstrators honked car horns, took photographs and cheered. A popular radio station that had been shut down by the government went back on the air.