An army general in the central-African republic of Burundi says the country’s government has been dismissed after a military coup.
Gunfire rang out in the Bujumbura, the capital of the landlocked country, Al Jazeera reported.
Soldiers have surrounded state-owned buildings including the national broadcaster’s offices, the report stated.
President Pierre Nkurunziza was in Tanzania for a conference aimed at stopping violence in Burundi when the coup, reportedly led by Major-General Godefroid Niyombare, began.
Commenting via Twitter, the presidency has denied the overthrow.
Niyombare was sacked in February from his role as intelligence chief.
“Regarding President Nkurunziza’s arrogance and defiance of the international community which advised him to respect the constitution and Arusha peace agreement, the committee for the establishment of the national concord decide: President Nkurunziza is dismissed, his government is dismissed too,” Niyombare told Al Jazeera.
The whereabouts of the president are unknown, although there are reports he left Tanzania.
Following the coup, celebrations were reported to have erupted.
Agathon Rwasa, a leading Burundian opposition figure, told Al Jazeera he supported the move by military officials to remove Nkurunziza.
“I think it’s right to rescue the people and the nation … Nkurunziza is relying on his militia to slaughter innocent people,” Rwasa said, in relation to 19 deaths reported since February.