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Burundi: Former defence minister pleads guilty to coup attempt

Burundi: Former defence minister pleads guilty to coup attempt


Former Burundi defence minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye has pleaded guilty in participating to overthrow the state.

Ndayirukiye together with two army generals and two police commissioners pleaded guilty on Monday before a Supreme Court judge in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura.

Ndayirukiye is among one of the three leaders arrestsed shortly after a failed coup attempt in May 2015.

The former defence minister cited that he could not continue to watch while the government stood by and let the police kill the population.

General Godefroid Niyombare announced in a radio broadcast on May 13th that the army had deposed President Pierre Nkurunziza who was away in neighbouring country Tanzania attending an East African Community meeting called to end Burundi’s crisis.

The short lived coup led to the arrests of dozens including police officers as well as military figures.

More than two dozen defendants including Ndayirukiye face life in prison if they are found guilty. The trials commenced in December 14th.

The coup leader General Godefroid Niyombare is still on the run despite stating he would surrender to the police last year.

Burundi has witnessed an escalation of violence in the country’s capital since 2015.

According to estimates by the United Nations, at least 400 people have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands have fled the country that is on the brink of civil war.