Burundi leader says country `secure`, warns against `encouraging

 Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza insisted Wednesday that "security reigns" in the country, after a failed coup and weeks of violent protests at his bid for a third term in power.

Bujumbura: Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza insisted Wednesday that "security reigns" in the country, after a failed coup and weeks of violent protests at his bid for a third term in power.

"Peace and security reign over 99.9 percent of Burundian territory and population are going normally in their activities," Nkurunziza said in a broadcast on state radio.

One week after a coup led by a top general was crushed -- with soldiers battling each other on the streets -- security forces on Wednesday fired guns and tear gas to end protests that have been raging in parts of the capital since late April.

But Nkurunziza said the vast majority the central African country was at peace, and that the parliamentary elections now due for June 5 -- after a postponement of 10 days -- as well as subsequent presidential polls, would take place calmly.

"Security reigns in Burundi, the elections will take place in peace and tranquility," Nkurunziza added, but also warned media they risked "encouraging insurrection" in the manner they reported.

"We also take this opportunity to warn Burundian and foreign media who try to disseminate information likely to sow hatred and division among Burundians, or discredit Burundi, or encourage insurgency," he said. "No Burundian would want to re-live the tensions of ethnic divisions."

Opposition and rights groups say that Nkurunziza`s bid for a third five-year term in power violates the constitution and the terms of the peace deal that brought an end to the country`s 13-year civil war in 2006.

But Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader and born-again Christian who believes he has divine backing to lead the country, argues his first term did not count as he was elected by parliament, not directly by the people.

More than 100,000 people have fled to neighbouring nations to escape political violence, according to the United Nations. Cholera has broken out in squalid refugee camps in Tanzania, and Nkurunziza urged people to return.

"Following the attempted coup some Burundians fled to neighbouring countries... we ask them to come back home because peace and security prevail in Burundi," he said.

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