WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States continues to recognize Pierre Nkurunziza as the legitimate president of Burundi, where a political crisis has recently erupted and members of the military have attempted to take control of the government, a State Department spokesman said on Thursday.
“There are competing claims to authority but we recognize President Nkurunziza as the legitimate president,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said at a briefing.
The head of Burundi’s army said on Thursday that an attempted coup had failed and forces loyal to Nkurunziza were in control but bursts of gunfire in the capital through the day suggested the battle for power was not yet over.
Rathke said there were reports Nkurunziza had overnighted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, but he said, “I don’t have his precise whereabouts.”
Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Bill Trott