Burundi General Godefroid Niyombare
Major General Godefroid Niyombare arrives at the Radio Publique Africaine (RPA) broadcasting studios to address the nation in Burundi's capital Bujumbura, on 13 May. Reuters

Soldiers backing the coup d'etat in Burundi are planning this morning (Thursday 14 May) to re-take "by force" two state institutions still in the hands of ousted President Pierre Nkurunziza loyalists in the capital Bujumbura.

The factions backing Nkurunziza, led by Army Chief of Staff Gen Prime Niyongabo, were this morning said to be in control of key positions such as the presidential palace and main radio station RTNB. But sources close to Maj Gen Godefroid Niyombare, who announced the coup d'etat on 13 May, told IBTimes UK the army is set to attack the buildings in the morning.

"The general Cyrille Ndayirukiye (one of the coup leaders) said this night that if the presidential forces did not want this to finish non-violently, then this time the army would attack the radio," the senior source told IBTimes UK from Bujumbura.

Another source from the country's opposition, confirmed the attack would be launched before 0700 GMT. "If the loyalists decide not to surrender, they will take it by force," the source said.

"(But) the general said he does not want blood to be spilt".

Burundi map
Burundi map IBTimes UK

The source, who did not want to be named, confirmed that special brigades charged with protecting the institutions were holed up inside the RTNB compound and the Palace, as "ongoing" discussions were taking place between the rival forces.

The factions backing the coup are mainly from Burundi's 11th Tank Battalion, known as the "bérets noirs" (the black berets). They are supported by the Burundian Parachute Battalion, the "beret rouges" (red berets).

Overnight fighting in Bujumbura

After a day of violence and celebrations, the capital fell silent on Wednesday evening, but fighting erupted near the city centre during the night.

"There were many, many shots fired. It was mainly from small arms and light weapons, but also from armoured vehicles," Pacifique Nininahazwe, a civil society activist and protest leader, told IBTimes UK from Bujumbura. "Visibly, the presidential camp wanted to retake the media."

Forces loyal to the president attacked the privately owned TV broadcaster Renaissance, private radio stations RPA, Bonesha and Isanganiro.

While significant material damage was sustained at Renaissance, loyalists failed to capture RPA and Bonesa. They did, however, manage to disrupt Isanganiro, shutting down the station for a few minutes, before it came back on again.

Burundi Fema FM burned down
Onlookers stand in front of the compound of the ruling-party affiliated Rema FM as it is burnt down by protesters on Wednesday 13 May Twitter

On Wednesday evening, the ruling party affiliated station, Rema FM, was burned down by protesters.

According to unconfirmed reports, those firing light arms were allegedly wearing either civilian, police or "semi-civilian" clothes.

IBTimes UK sources also claim both militias affiliated to the president - the Imbonerakure and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which has been at the heart of years of conflict in Central Africa's Great Lakes region - have taken part in the fighting.

"The Presidential camp is using forces that are not official, militias," Nininahazwe, the civil society activist and protest leader, said from the capital.


(13:28 GMT 14 May) Army backing the coup has just taken over the RTNB, a source within the group has told IBTimes UK.

(12:06 GMT 14 May) Personnel from the embattled state broadcaster RTNB are holed up inside the building as the shelling continues, according to RFI. The broadcaster stopped transmitting.

RTNB Burundi
RTNB, which was the last radio and TV broadcasting in Burundi, stopped transmitting after the army launched its attack on the state broadcaster's compound in Bujumbura. Twitter

(11:57 GMT 14 May) Mwaro troops have already joined the armed forces backing the coup, and have been using their armoured vehicles to attack the state broadcaster RTNB, which was still in the bands of loyalists.

Muyinga, Kayanza and Cibitoke troops have also arrived in Bujumbura.

According to a source close to the Ministry of Defense, much of the Ngozi unit went back to Ngozi where it is allegedly taking control of the President's home in the province, but IBTimes UK can not confirm this as of yet.

(11:15 GMT 14 May) Witnesses confirm heavy fighting and shelling can be heard near the state-run national broadcaster RNTB in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura.

A witness, hiding some 800 metres away from the building, told IBTimes UK the shots fired came from "heavy weapons" - supposedly armoured vehicles.

"We can hear very loud shelling from tanks. They (army tanks) have surrounded the building," Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, the leader of Burundi's civil society and opposition figure, confirmed in a phone interview with IBTimes UK from Bujumbura.

(10:35 GMT 14 May) President Pierre Nkurunziza has made a statement in the Kirundi language to the attention of the people of Burundi. As he spoke on the loyalist-run radio, he called the population to remain calm.

He also thanked the defense and safety forces of Burundi for the "good work to foil the attempted coup".

During the same interview , the Burundian president also said that "many coup leaders went " and called those who still resist to disarm, but stressed that "the country's borders are not closed".

(09:00 GMT 14 May) Red Cross ambulances have been called to 'save injured civilians' after loyalists to President Pierre Nkurunziza entered the capital's district of Buyenzi, IBTimes UK can reveal.

The factions backing Nkurunziza, led by Army Chief of Staff Gen Prime Niyongabo, have allegedly entered the neighbourhood of Buyenzi "looking for people who are not supporters of the (ruling party) CNDD-FDD and have attacked them", according to a source close to the Ministry of Defence.

"Police officers and the Imbonerakure have started entering the neighbourhoods to kill civilian people, especially in Buyenzi. I have been called to get protection from the army. They are targetting those who are not supporters of the CNDD-FDD," Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, the leader of Burundi's civil society and opposition figure, confirmed in a phone interview with IBTimes UK from Bujumbura.

The Minister of Defense, General Pontien Gaciyubwenge, also told a source that the army backing the coup was holding off from forcing its entrance into the state broadcaster RTNB because "families of journalists including women and children" are still trapped inside.

The journalists had taken their families to the RTNB in hope to protect them.

"The Minister of the Defense wants to evacuate the families first before attacking," the source said from Burundi's capital.

(08:00 GMT 14 May) Radio stations Rema, RPA and Renaissance stopped broadcasting after they were entirely, or partially, burned down.

Meanwhile, the Isanganiro and Bonesha stations have been asked to close.

Journalists from private radio station Bonesha FM said "heavily armed" military and police officers had stormed into the building. The radio personnel were asked to leave the compound, before hearing "big explosions" coming from inside the building.

"The journalists were expelled ... then we heard a big explosion. We did not know if they bombed the radio or if they have just destroyed part of the infrastructure because we were ordered to move away," a journalist said.