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Burundi lifts arrest warrants for coup plotters

Burundi lifts arrest warrants for coup plotters


The Burundian government has lifted arrest warrants against several people alleged to have participated in an attempted coup last year.

After immense pressure from the international community, a notice signed by the country’s Prosecutor General, Valentin Bagorikunda, revoked arrest warrants for 15 people.

According to media reports, an opposition leader as well as a speaker of the national assembly are among the 15 whose warrants of arrest have been lifted.

In September, arrest warrants were issued after a report by a commission of inquiry investigating the coup was submitted.

Nevertheless, Burundi’s Supreme Court sentenced the masterminds of the failed coup last month. Four generals including the coup leader Godefroid Niyombare, who is on the run and former defence minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye were handed life imprisonment.

Ndayirukiye together with two army generals and two police commissioners pleaded guilty in participating to overthrow the state.

On May 13, Niyombare announced in a radio broadcast that the army was deposing President Pierre Nkurunziza who was away in neighbouring country Tanzania attending an East African Community meeting focused on ending Burundi’s crisis.

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

The coup leader is now the head of an armed group, the Republican Forces of Burundi (Forces républicaines du Burundi, Forebu) formed in January.

At least 400 people have died and hundreds of thousands have fled the country that is on the brink of civil war.