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Burundi President Makes First Appearance since Coup Bid

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza on Sunday appeared in the capital for the first time since an attempted coup against his government last week.

Nkurunziza appeared before journalists at his presidential palace in Bujumbura and made a brief statement saying that he is battling a threat from al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic extremist group based in Somalia.

An army general claimed the president had been ousted Wednesday, while Nkurunziza was at a summit in neighboring Tanzania. Nkurunziza later returned to the country, but had not been seen in the capital until Sunday.

The coup attempt came as protesters demonstrated for a third week against Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, which dissenters say is unconstitutional. The presidential election is set to take place on June 26.

Seventeen security officials including five generals accused in the attempted coup appeared before a prosecutor Saturday who charged them with an attempt at destabilizing public institutions, according to the lawyers of some of the suspects.

Burundi is one of the world’s poorest countries. In recent decades, ethnic violence between Hutus and Tutsis has dominated its attempts to achieve political stability.

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