BUJUMBURA, Burundi — President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi on Sunday used his first public appearance since a coup attempt against his government last week to warn of a threat by the Shabab, the Somali militant group, to his country.
“Today is Sunday, others are attending church services, but I have decided to come to my office in order to discuss with my counterparts in Uganda and Kenya on measures to be taken to protect our people against Shabab,” Mr. Nkurunziza said at a news conference in the capital, Bujumbura.
The Burundi contingent taking part in the African Union mission in Somalia is the second largest with 5,432 soldiers. The Shabab have been behind attacks in Kenya and Uganda, which have also contributed to the mission.
But a Shabab spokesman quoted by Reuters denied that there was a threat.
“We think that this is an attempt by him to appease his people, who are standing in the streets protesting against his dictatorship, or to divert the world’s attention from him while he possibly prepares his mass revenge,” the spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mahamud Rage, said in a statement.Yet the coup attempt in this Central African country arose not from outside threats, but after a month of protests that began when Mr. Nkurunziza announced that he would seek another term as president.