Advertisement

Burundi Leader Ousted While Away in Quebec

September 03, 1987|From Reuters

KIGALI, Rwanda — The president of the small African nation of Burundi was overthrown by the country's military leaders in a bloodless coup today while he was at a summit of French-speaking leaders in Quebec, radio reports indicated.

A communique broadcast on the state radio from the Burundi capital of Bujumbura said the president, Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, was relieved of his duties as head of state, head of the ruling party and chief of the armed forces.

Bagaza himself took power in a bloodless coup in 1976.

Bagaza flew from Quebec to New York on hearing of the revolt, and boarded an Air France Concorde that was scheduled to arrive in Paris at 11:45 p.m., airport sources said.

Military Council Formed

All members of his government, the leadership of the ruling party and the country's judicial council were dismissed and a military council for national redemption was being set up under Maj. Pierre Buyoya, the state radio said.

The announcement, heard in neighboring Rwanda, was made in the name of the army supreme office.

Burundi is a small, densely populated country in the heart of Africa, landlocked between Tanzania to the east, Zaire to the west and Rwanda to the north.

The Bujumbura broadcast said that the country's airports and borders were closed and urged the population to remain calm. Government departments would for the time being be run by their senior civil servants, the broadcast said.

Bagaza Healed Wounds

Bagaza, a member of the dominant minority Tutsi people, had been credited with some success in healing deep national wounds in Burundi which resulted from one of the worst outbreaks of tribal violence Africa had ever seen.

When he assumed power, the population was still traumatized by the ethnic slaughter of 1972 in which as many as 200,000 people died.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|