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MOSCOW, May 14. /TASS/. Russia would like to see early normalization and restoration of constitutional order in Burundi, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary placed on its website.
"According to the available information the Republic of Burundi on May 13 saw a government coup attempt," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "A group of senior officers declared President Pierre Nkurunziza was deposed, while the head of state himself was away on a visit in Dar-el-Salam, Tanzania. They said the purpose of the move was to prevent the incumbent from running for a third presidential term. Creation of the Committee of National Salvation was declared. The committee said it had assumed all governing powers in the country. In the meantime, forces loyal to the president have been taking measures to regain control of the situation."
"Russia is calling for an early normalization of the situation and restoration of the constitutional order in Burundi," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "We will continue to closely monitor events in that African country."
As the Russian Foreign Ministry said, the situation in Burundi’s capital remains strained and sporadic fire exchanges take place. The international airport is closed.
"According to the Russian embassy in Bujumbura, there have been no casualties among Russian citizens," the Foreign Ministry said.
Nkurunziza, who represents the ethnic majority Hutu, has ruled Burundi for the past ten years. The 2005 Constitution allows the same person to hold the presidential office for no more than two times in a row. The current president argues that his first tenure of office should not be counted, because he had been appointed by parliament, and not elected directly on the basis of universal suffrage. The Constitutional Court has ruled he had the right to contest another term of office.
Burundi’s national radio on Thursday resumed the broadcasts interrupted earlier on the same day because of an attack by rebellious military on the radio’s headquarters.
"We suspended our programs for a few minutes because of an intense exchange of gunfire," the radio said, adding that it remained under the control of forces loyal to President Pierre Nkurunziza, who had condemned the attempted military coup and had offered the mutineers to surrender.