BUJUMBURA, Burundi — Two senior army officers and a police general accused of taking part in an attempted coup in Burundi have been arrested, a presidential spokesman said on Friday as it became apparent that a military plot to oust President Pierre Nkurunziza had fizzled out.
Gervais Abayeho told The Associated Press Friday that the leader of the attempted coup, Maj. Gen. Godefroid Niyombare, is at large and that security forces are looking for him. He did not name the attempted coup plotters in custody.
The streets of Bujumbura were mostly calm on Friday following fighting a day earlier between loyalist troops and forces supporting Niyombare, who announced the coup bid on Wednesday while Nkurunziza was in Tanzania for a meeting with regional leaders about unrest in his country.
Nkurunziza's bid for a third term had triggered protests over several days, with opponents saying it violated the Constitution as well as peace accords that ended a civil war here. At least 15 people were killed in the demonstrations that began on April 26, a day after the ruling party made Nkurunziza its presidential candidate.
Burundi's Constitution states a president can be popularly elected to two five-year terms. Nkurunziza maintains he is eligible for a third because parliament elected him to his first term, leaving him open to be popularly elected to two terms.
The U.S. urged its citizens to leave Burundi the country and advised against traveling to Burundi. The U.S. Embassy in Burundi said it is closed Friday amid the insecurity.
More than 105,000 Burundians have fled to the neighboring countries of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Presidential elections are set for June 26 but it is now unclear if they will actually take place.