Fierce turf war after coup bid
Rival factions of Burundi's army yesterday fought intense battles for control of the capital, a day after a top general launched a coup to oust the central African nation's President Pierre Nkurunziza.
The clashes were centred around the state television and radio complex, with broadcasts to the nation halted, before resuming after an attack was repulsed.
At least three soldiers were killed in the clashes, an AFP journalist who saw the bodies on the streets said.
The president himself was in neighbouring Tanzania when the coup was launched and remains in a secret location in Dar es Salaam, Tanzanian officials said.
"We control virtually the entire city. The soldiers who are being deployed are on our side," coup spokesman Venon Ndabaneze told AFP.
Similar claims, however, were made by troops loyal to the president, and it remained unclear which side had the upper hand.
Burundi's armed forces chief, a supporter of the president, had used national radio to declare that the coup, launched by former intelligence chief Godefroid Niyombare, had failed.
Supporters of the president also carried out attacks against independent media broadcasters in the capital, with the influential African Public Radio station ablaze after being hit by a rocket.
The attempted coup capped weeks of deadly civil unrest sparked by the president's controversial bid to stand for a third term.
The crisis has raised fears of a return to widespread violence in the impoverished country, which is still recovering from a 13-year civil war that ended in 2006 and left hundreds of thousands dead.