Amid presidency protests, Burundi defense chief says army will not break constitution

Reuters News
Posted: May 02, 2015 1:28 PM

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - Burundi's defense minister on Saturday said that no one could force the army to violate the constitution or the peace deal that ended a 12-year civil war, and called for politicians to respect both documents.

Burundi has been rocked by protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza's plan to seek a third term, a move opponents and the United States say violates the Arusha peace deal. The president's supporters say the constitution does not bar him from running.

In carefully worded comments at a news conference, Defense Minister Major General Pontien Gaciyubwenge said: "There is no individual who will direct the army to go against the Arusha deal and the country's constitution.”

(Reporting by Patrick Nduwimana; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)