Update as of 7:18 a.m. EDT: Maj. Gen. Godefroid Niyombare, leader of the attempted coup in Burundi, was arrested on Friday, Reuters reported, citing President Pierre Nkurunziza's spokesman. The arrest comes two days after Niyombare announced that he had overthrown Nkurunziza's government.
"He has been arrested. He didn't surrender," presidential spokesman Gervais Abayeho reportedly said.
Update as of 7:06 a.m. EDT: The U.S. Embassy in Burundi said it will evacuate non-emergency personnel and families of staff after a failed coup attempt against President Pierre Nkurunziza, Reuters reported.
The coup in Burundi appeared to be defeated on Friday when forces loyal to President Pierre Nkurunziza said they had arrested several of the coup leaders and the president said he had returned to the country.
Three renegade military officials who had backed General Godefroid Niyombare’s attempt to overthrow Nkurunziza had been arrested, BBC reported. Niyombare himself was "still on the run," according to an unnamed presidential spokesman.
Niyombare had told Agence France-Presse on Friday that he and other coup members were going to surrender, adding: "I hope they won't kill us.”
Late Thursday, Nkurunziza announced on Twitter that he had returned to the country, but his location was unclear. He had earlier been taken to a secret location in Tanzania after his return flight was blocked when coup forces seized a Burundian airport.
"I thank the army and police for their patriotism. Above all I thank Burundians for their patience," he wrote on Twitter.
Spokesman Gervais Abayeho confirmed the president’s return and said that Nkurunziza would continue running for reelection. "The president is in a good mood, he doesn't see any problem at all. He's been elected by the people, he's going to run again," he said, the BBC reported.
Nkurunziza was nominated for a third term, which critics denounced as unconstitutional, and Niyombare launched the coup attempt on Wednesday while the president was in Tanzania for a meeting, following weeks of protests in the country.
Five soldiers were killed in the capital of Bujumbura in clashes on Thursday. Loyalists and pro-coup forces battled for control of the country’s national broadcaster. Burundian Chief of Staff Major-General Prime Niyongabo had called on the coup forces to stand down, insisting that the army did not have any say in Nkurunziza’s nomination, the BBC reported Thursday.
“Burundi is a democratic nation. The army does not interfere in politics. We are obliged to follow the constitution," he said.