BBC – Maj Gen Godefroid Niyombareh announced that a national salvation committee had been set up to run the country.President Nkurunziza is currently in Tanzania meeting other East African leaders to discuss the crisis. His aide dismissed the coup claims as “a joke”.
President Nkurunziza has rejected calls to postpone next month’s election.
Gen Niyombareh, in a statement read to reporters in a military base, said he did not recognise the leadership because the president’s bid for a third term violated the constitution.
Soldiers have surrounded the offices of the national broadcaster in the capital, Bujumbura.
Gen Niyombareh’s “national salvation committee” comprises at least five other army and police generals.
One eyewitness told Reuters that crowds who had earlier been out on the streets of the capital protesting against the president were now cheering and celebrating his apparent dismissal.
The unrest began on 26 April and has led to the deaths of more than 20 people.
Tens of thousands of Burundians have fled to neighbouring states in recent weeks.