Burundi: Former minister on trial over May coup attempt

Tensions high as the trial of alleged coup plotters begins, days after 87 people killed in the latest violent outbreak.

    Ndayirukiye, pictured in the centre,  and five other generals are among those standing trial [Jean Pierre Aime Harerimana/Reuters]
    Ndayirukiye, pictured in the centre, and five other generals are among those standing trial [Jean Pierre Aime Harerimana/Reuters]

    The trial of 28 men accused of launching a failed coup in Burundi in May opened on Monday amid heightened tensions after attacks last week in which 87 people were killed.

    Former Defence Minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye and five other generals were among those standing trial for their alleged involvement in an attempt to oust President Nkurunziza while he was seeking a third term in office.

    The defendants - who appeared under tight security in a court room in Gitega, some 100km east of the capital Bujumbura - are charged with an "attempted coup and calling for a popular uprising, killing soldiers, policemen and civilians, and the malicious destruction of buildings", prosecutor Adolphe Manirakiza said.

    The prisoners, all senior military and police officials, told the court they were being held in "inhumane and degrading" conditions, and kept in tiny cells with a bucket as a toilet.

    They face possible life imprisonment if found guilty.

    Escalating violence

    Burundi has been in turmoil since the April announcement that Nkurunziza would seek a third term in office. Nkurunziza won elections in July, but violence has since escalated.


    Q&A: 'We continue to believe in Burundi'


    At least 87 people died on Friday in the capital Bujumbura - many reportedly shot dead execution-style - when an unidentified group attacked three military facilities.

    Military spokesman Gaspard Baratuza said eight security men were among those killed.

    Rights groups described Friday's killing the worst violence in Burundi in months.

    More than 300 people have been killed and about 215,000 others have fled Burundi since April. Hundreds of Burundians have been imprisoned for opposing Nkurunziza's extension of his rule.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    What happens when the US government shuts down?

    The US government has shut down. What happens next?

    US federal government begins partial shutdown after Senate blocks short-term spending bill. What happens next?

    Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?

    Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?

    Is an empowered Palestinian girl not worthy of Western feminist admiration?