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Independent Burundi radio, TV stations attacked by president’s loyalists: media


President Pierre Nkurunziza

President Pierre Nkurunziza

Supporters of Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza carried out attacks against independent media broadcasters in the capital Thursday, the day after a top general used a private radio station to launch a coup attempt, media workers said.

The influential African Public Radio (RPA) station, which was shut down during weeks of protests against the president and reopened after the coup attempt, was hit by a rocket and was ablaze, witnesses said.

Media boss and rights activist Innocent Muhozi, whose independent TV station was also attacked, said the raids were carried out by pro-Nkurunziza police and ruling party youth.

“During the night a truck full of police attacked RPA,” Muhozi said, adding they fired a rocket at the radio building after fighting pro-coup troops guarding the station.

The attacks on independent media came as pro-coup troops fought heavy battles with the president’s loyalists who are protecting the state television and radio complex.

A top Burundian general, former intelligence chief Godefroid Niyombare, launched the coup on Wednesday, capping weeks of violent protests against the president’s controversial bid for a third term.

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