AP reports coup attempt in Burundi

News and Press Release
Originally published
By STEFAN LOVGREN Associated Press Writer
BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) -- The Tutsi-led military has staged an apparent coup against the president of Burundi, who took refuge today at the U.S. ambassador's residence, a top presidential advisor said. "The president feared for his life and his own security forces were not responding to his requests," said Mames Bansubibko, a close adviser to the president. "He is staying with the U.S. ambassador to make sure he is not going to be killed."

President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, a Hutu, was escorted to the ambassador's residence after Tutsi paratroopers were posted at main government positions, including the TV and radio station in the capital. In Washington, an administration official said the military was attempting to depose Ntibantunganya and he was expected to flee to Tanzania.

Bansubibko said the president was not resigning. But diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was unlikely Ntibantunganya would remain in power.Ntibantunganya met with U.S. Ambassador Morris Hughes to determine his next move.

"The most important thing right now is to make sure that the population in Burundi will not start killing each other," Bansubibko said. "The United States will not, under any circumstances, tolerate a government installed by force or intimidation in Burundi," U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said.

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