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Burundi: Crackdown as coup plotters are snatched from hospital

Police reportedly stormed a hospital in Bujumbura, the Burundian capital, shot and killed patients as they searched for men injured in clashes that erupted when a senior army officer announced an attempted takeover of the government.

Reports say the men were taken while being treated, bundled into waiting vans and taken away to unknown destinations, and no one has heard from them since.

Dr Antoine, a surgeon at the Bumerec hospital in Bujumbura, said the attack also left some patients injured.

The attack happened on the same day President Pierre Nkurunziza, who was in neighbouring Tanzania when the attempted coup was announced, returned home.

Eighteen people have appeared in court in Burundi accused of helping to organise last week’s failed coup against President Nkurunziza.

The alleged coup ringleader, Godefroid Niyombare, is still on the run.

President Nkurunziza on Saturday thanked the army for thwarting the coup and appealed for calm, although protests have continued in the capital Bujumbura.

For those who appeared in court, a lawyer Anatole Miburo, said “They were seriously beaten, in particular General Ndayirukiye”.

Relatives of two of the accused told the Reuters news agency that the suspects had visible injuries and that one had lost hearing in one ear due to a beating in the cells.

Security remains tight in the capital, where private radio stations are still closed. Soldiers and police have been patrolling the streets looking for anyone involved in the coup.

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