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Burundi - Daily Summary of Main Events 26 July 1996
# Bujumbura was reportedly calm today, Friday 26 July, after yesterday's bloodless coup during which Pierre Buyoya was installed as President. Buyoya, who was President of Burundi from 1987 to 1993, said in an interview today that he seized power to save his people. Burundi's President Ntibantunganya has refused to resign and says he is still President. The main Burundian opposition party, the CNDD, has said that it will starve out the capital Bujumbura and Gitega to bring the new leaders to the negotiating table. Fighting is reported around Gitega, while Ngozi is reported calm. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, head of PARENA, has said that his party would resist the coup "with peaceful means."
# The Burundian Minister of Defence, Colonel Firmin Sinzoyiheba, announced on state radio yesterday afternoon that the national assembly and all political parties would be suspended and that the borders and Bujumbura airport would be closed until further notice. A private flight was reported to have landed this afternoon, however, and a UN flight from Nairobi has been scheduled for tomorrow, 27 July.
# The international community has mostly denounced the effort to oust President Ntibatunganya; the French Government being the only major western government which has not condemned the coup outright. The UN and most western governments have pledged that the change in government will not be recognized. The Secretary-General of the OAU warned yesterday that any coup in Burundi would be met by force. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali said that the international community would "on no account" accept the Army-backed coup d'etat. The US, which first described the take-over as a "profound government crisis", and later condemned it as a "coup," is reported to be softening its opinion of Buyoya, claiming he has shown a "preference" for democracy in the past.
The European Union has announced that it will withdraw its development aid programmes to Burundi. South Africa has pledged that it will not recognize any government brought about through force of arms. The Kenyan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that the Burundi crisis demanded the full attention of the United Nations and should not be left to Africans alone. On Thursday, France reacted to the coup by saying that the search for national reconciliation must prevail in Burundi and that Buyoya appeared to have been appointed "in order to breathe new life into national debate and democracy".
Oxfam said yesterday that Burundi faces a bloodbath unless the international community backs the peace plan. ACTIONAID has called on the UN to take immediate responsibility for helping the hundreds of thousands of displaced people in the country. The British NGO further alleged that the there is an "alarming gap" in the UN system, with no UN agency having overall responsibility for internally displaced persons. # Today, there were only minor reports of violence in Bujumbura although there was some shooting and grenade throwing in the capital yesterday. Army roadblocks established yesterday at major intersections in Bujumbura were reported to have been removed today although patrols were reported to be out in force at the university, a stronghold of support for former President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza. Tutsi youth are believed to supportive of the more extreme Bagaza instead of Buyoya who is known as the person who brought democratic elections to Burundi, effectively removing the Tutsi-dominated parties from power.
# Tanzania called today for an emergency summit meeting of east and central African heads of state in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, early next week to consider the appropriate response to the crisis in Burundi. States who attended the June 25 Arusha Summit are invited, as is Cameroon, who occupies the chair of the OAU. It is reported that Tanzania has also asked South African President Nelson Mandela to attend.
# The UN is continuing to discuss possibilities of deploying
a multi-national military force in Burundi, but so
far only three countries have agreed to make troops
available and no government has agreed to assume the
leadership role for such an intervention.
16:15 GMT Nairobi
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From: Pat Banks <email@example.com> Date: Fri, 26 Jul 1996 20:58:48 +0300 (GMT+0300) Subject: Burundi: IRIN Daily Summary of Main Events 26 July 1996 (96.7.26) Message-Id: <Pine.LNX.3.91.960726205115.14987Afirstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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