Burundi's president goes abroad for 1st time since coup plot

By Eloge Willy Kaneza, Associated Press | Posted - Jul. 20, 2017 at 5:20 a.m.



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BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Burundi's president is traveling out of the country for the first time since the failed coup attempt of May 2015, a government official said Thursday.

President Pierre Nkurunziza is visiting neighboring Tanzania to reinforce cooperation between the countries, said spokesman Jean Claude Karerwa Ndenzako. The East African nation is home to tens of thousands of Burundian refugees who have fled deadly political violence.

In May 2015, Nkurunziza's allies in the armed forces put down a coup attempt mounted while the president was attending a summit in Tanzania.

The attempt followed weeks of street protests against Nkurunziza's ultimately successful attempt to win a disputed third term.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the violence since April 2015, according to the United Nations, and rights groups accuse Burundi's security forces of carrying out serious rights abuses, including killings and disappearances.

Burundi's government often dismisses the allegations, saying they are based on false information supplied by the regime's opponents.

The government has rejected the proposed deployment of African Union peacekeepers in Burundi, saying they will be treated as an invading force.

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Eloge Willy Kaneza

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