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Coups Not the Answer – Burundi's New Leader

The next leader of Burundi, an African country with a bloodstained history of massacres and military takeovers, said ordinary people desperate for peace would quash any new coup attempt once he takes office this week. Domitien Ndayizeye, to become the first Hutu president in seven years at a ceremony on Wednesday, said he wanted to create a professional army to help foster reconciliation among a people long divided between majority Hutus and minority Tutsis. “Whoever tries to launch a coup will be seized by all Burundians,” he told Reuters in an interview on Sunday evening. “In recent years, the army has been much abused by politicians. The evolution of our society needs a professional army, an army that acts under government direction.” Tutsis have dominated the army and government since independence from Belgium in 1962, with periodic military takeovers by Tutsi officers seeking to quash efforts by moderates to create an ethnically-balanced administration. Ndayizeye will lead the central African coffee-growing nation for the second half of a three-year transition to democracy designed to end a conflict pitting Tutsis against Hutu rebels seeking more power for their impoverished community. Full Story

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