SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2015, Daily Nation (Kenya)
DAR ES SALAAM
Dramatic details of how embattled Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza was sneaked back into his crisis-torn country from Tanzania can now be revealed. We can reveal the route the President used to reach the capital Bujumbura on Thursday night, to regain the seat of power after an attempt to overthrow him scrambled spectacularly. Sources in government and in security circles revealed how Mr Nkurunziza was desperate to get back to Burundi and reportedly turned down an offer for asylum in South Africa.
The Burundi President spent Wednesday night at a Dar es Salaam hotel after his attempt to return failed because coup leaders had seized the airport. On Thursday, the Burundi leader remained holed up in an undisclosed place from where he was driven to Julius Nyerere International Airport at 3pm for the first leg of his journey when his forces had regained an upper hand in the fighting. He boarded his plane that had been hired from South Africa and flew to Kigoma town, on the western part of Tanzania bordering Burundi, from where he was to cross over.
According to sources, President Nkurunziza arrived in Kigoma after an hour. At 5.30pm, he was taken aboard a Tanzania Peoples Defence Force (TPDF) helicopter that was to fly him to his home turf region of Ngozi. The helicopter, under the command of senior intelligence officers, was designated as civilian and covered a distance of about 450 kilometres from Kigoma to Ngozi.
Here, President Nkurunziza was handed to an advance team of his security and intelligence officers who had been dispatched from Bujumbura. The helicopter arrived with its undesignated VIP at 7pm. He was then driven at night in a small convoy of cars to reach Bujumbura from where he took to the social media at about midnight to appeal for calm and announce he was in the country safe and in charge.