Burundi Defence Minister blows the lid off CNDD-FDD's fraudulent coup plot allegations
Burundi's defence minister on Sunday broke ranks with his government to deny accusations that a former president and six accomplices, whose trial resumes this week, had plotted to bring down the administration.
"We have in the army a secret services bureau, I would like to assure you that we don't have any indication of the existence of a coup," Major General Germain Niyoyankana told reporters.
"And no elements of the army are involved in that coup plot if there is one," he added.
President Pierre Nkurunziza's government has come under increasing criticism from rights' groups and western nations for its handling of the alleged plot, which some fear might plunge the tiny central African nation into conflict again.
Burundi is emerging from over a decade of civil war after the 1993 assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye kicked off a brutal conflict in which more than 300,000 people were killed.
Police arrested former President Domitien Ndayizeye and six others in August saying they had strong evidence they were plotting to kill Nkurunziza and seize power. The High Court had said the seven should be freed on bail, but when prosecutors protested at the decision, the court reversed its ruling.
Critics say the plot was invented by the ruling party to quash dissent, but the government and prosecutors deny this.
The government said last week the suspects had met with Salim Saleh, the half-brother of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Congolese dissident General Laurent Nkunda, and Rwandan army chief of staff General James Kabalebe.
But Niyoyankana said he doubted the involvement of foreigners in the alleged plot.
"They say Burundians worked with some foreigners to plot against the government," he said, adding that there were "incoherent and unreliable" aspects to the case.
"It is not a good thing to involve neighbouring countries. We don't have to blame others. This problem is ours. We are the source and the end of it," he added.
Former rebel leader Nkurunziza came to power in 2005 after democratic polls under a peace plan ending the war.
Burundi, human rights, Current Affairs, Politics, Africa