Burundi: Gunfire, chaos as President says he's back in the country

Written by  CNN

Gunfire erupted in Burundi on Thursday, hours after an army general announced a coup and the President's spokesman dismissed it as a "joke."

Chaos as Nkurunziza remains President Chaos as Nkurunziza remains President

According to CNN, political infighting sparked fears that Burundi would plunge into ethnic violence with the central African nation's history of civil war making it especially vulnerable to deep divisions.

Sporadic gunshots rocked Bujumbura, the capital, following an attempt to overthrow President Pierre Nkurunziza on Wednesday.

However the President downplayed any coup attempt, urging citizens not to panic.

"We ask all the people of Burundi to stay calm in the face of the impostor," Nkurunziza tweeted. "The situation is under control and the constitutional order has been safeguarded."

Nkurunziza posted a Twitter message later Thursday saying he had returned to his country. It was unclear exactly where he was, but he congratulated the army and the police for "their patriotism," and "Burundians "for their patience." CNN reports.

Meanwhile U.S. diplomats have expressed concerns at the situation.

"Our embassy has received reports that the airport continues to be closed and that the land borders may also be closed or restricted at this time," said Jeff Rathke, acting spokesman for the State Department.

Animosity against the President started last month when he expressed his intention to run for a third term.

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