The UN Security Council on Thursday condemned the coup attempt in Burundi but also took aim at President Pierre Nkurunziza's supporters.
UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council on Thursday condemned the coup attempt in Burundi but also took aim at President Pierre Nkurunziza's supporters, after weeks of violence engulfed the east African country.
In a unanimous statement, the 15-member council said it "condemned both those who facilitate violence of any kind against civilians and those who seek to seize power by unlawful means."
Burundi was thrown into turmoil when General Godefroid Niyombare, a powerful former intelligence chief, announced by radio on Wednesday that the president had been overthrown.
The coup attempt capped weeks of deadly civil unrest sparked by the Nkurunziza's controversial bid to stand for a third term.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon separately condemned "attempts to oust elected governments by military force" and called for calm and restraint.
Ban urged political and security leaders "to clearly and openly reject the use of violence, refrain from acts of revenge, and rein in their militants."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned "attempts to oust elected governments by military force"
The coup attempt split the army, with rival factions fighting intense battles for control of the capital.
The Security Council has been divided on how to address the Burundi crisis, with Russia and China arguing that the dispute over Nkurunziza's bid for a third term is a constitutional matter that should be resolved internally.
In its statement, the council called for "the swift return of the rule of law, and the holding of credible elections."
During a closed-door session, council diplomats heard a briefing from UN envoy Said Djinnit who said it remained unclear whether the coup attempt would succeed.
"The briefing showed that there is a lack of clarity on what is happening on the ground. Conflicting signals are being sent," said Lithuanian Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite, whose country currently holds the council presidency.
Nkurunziza has been in power since 2005, when a 12-year civil war ended.
Burundi's constitution only allows a president to be elected twice -- for a total of 10 years in power -- but Nkurunziza argues he has only been directly elected by the people once.
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