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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Army Ousts Burundi's President

BUJUMBURA, Burundi -- The Tutsi-led military has staged an apparent coup against the president of Burundi, who took refuge Wednesday at the U.S. ambassador's residence, officials said.


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.


"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."


In Washington, an administration official said the military was attempting to depose Ntibantunganya and he was expected to flee to Tanzania.


"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.


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.


Despite the president's flight and anti-government demonstrations Wednesday morning, the streets of the capital were calm.


Late Tuesday, the normally tight security around the capital was heightened. Tutsi paratroopers were stationed at the government-run radio and television stations, and outside government buildings.


Early Wednesday, the junior partner in the coalition government rejected both Ntibantunganya and the 1994 agreement setting up the current government, a weak coalition of the two ethnic groups.