Sporadic gunfire heard in the streets of Burundi capital as the country's president condemns an attempted coup. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION SCRIPT: Sporadic gunfire was heard in the streets of Burundi capital on Thursday (May 14) as the country's president condemned an attempted coup. President Pierre Nkurunziza, who was in Tanzania when the coup attempt was announced on Wednesday (May 13) also said he was he was ready to forgive any soldier who decided to surrender, speaking in a broadcast on state radio before transmission stopped. The radio stopped broadcasting after he spoke and after heavy gunfire was heard coming from the area of the state broadcasting headquarters. Earlier on Thursday, the head of Burundi's army said that the attempted coup had failed and forces loyal to Nkurunziza were in control. Army Chief of Staff General Prime Niyongabo's announcement came a day after another general said he had sacked Nkurunziza for seeking an unconstitutional third term in office. Gunfire could still be heard in the capital, Bujumbura, and whether the government had regained control was not clear. In Burundi's civil war that ended in 2005, the army was commanded by minority Tutsis who fought against rebel groups of the majority Hutus, including one led by Nkurunziza. The military has since been reformed to absorb rival factions, but fault lines in its ranks have remained. Activists say more than 20 people have been killed in weeks of protest against Nkurunziza's re-election bid, plunging Burundi into its worst crisis since the civil war ended in 2005. The United Nations said more than 70,000 Burundians had fled to neighbouring states in a region which has a history of ethnic fighting. Western donors, which provide vital aid to finance the budget and other institutions, have criticised Nkurunziza for running again. The United States, which trains and equips the army, called on Wednesday for all parties to end violence. Opponents say Nkurunziza's bid for another five years in office violates a two-term limit set down in the constitution and in the peace deal that ended the civil war. A constitutional court, however, ruled that the president could run, finding that his first term, when he was picked by parliament rather than by popular vote, did not count. Critics say the court is biased.