Local and international news sources say that army leaders have attempted to overthrow President Pierre Nkurunziza, following weeks of protest at his decision to stand for the presidency for a third consecutive term. The decision had been denounced by many as unconstitutional, including US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Burundi now faces a tense stand-off, with rumours of coup leaders racing to seize the airport while the President prepares to fly in from crisis talks in neighbouring Tanzania.
We are in contact with our Burundian partner organisation, INAMA, who have described the scene on the ground.
"When the coup was announced, the only way that news could reach many communities was via phone calls. We immediately informed our citizen reporters. There is significant danger of violent reactions to the coup, so sharing information in this way is very important," INAMA said.
INAMA is a network of 25 local peacebuilding organisations, which have trained 250 volunteers and citizen reporters around the country. They are helping us collate real-time information and create conflict briefings for local emergency services, aid agencies and the UN.
A witness said: “On the streets there are many people celebrating, but also some uncertainty. There's a mix of excitement, fear and nervousness.”
For a full update on the current situation from INAMA, see below. Follow Peace Direct on twitter for more developments.
Peace Direct's partner organisation in Burundi, INAMA, said the following:
- The borders and international airport have closed down.
- The signs in Bujumbura at this moment (17.00 Burundi time) are that the coup is gaining success. The leader of the coup (Major General Godefroid Niyombare) is seen as a credible figure. This increases the chances that the coup will be successful, although General Niyombare has not yet announced the coup at the National Radio station. That is what is causing uncertainty, and doubts about whether the coup has been successful or not.
- The largest protests on the streets are at the main National Radio and Television station (RTNB), where protestors want the station to broadcast the coup announcement.
- The army is protecting protestors and providing security on the street. The police is less visible downtown.
- The RPA radio station is broadcasting again after two weeks and this is very significant because it is allowing news to reach beyond Bujumbura.
- INAMA is most concerned about the security situation outside Bujumbura. The army presence in Bujumbura is providing stability. However outside Bujumbura where communities are more isolated, they fear that activists and journalists may be targeted.