Bujumbura- Burundi (PANA) -- A large number of gendarmes were stationed at strategic locations in Bujumbura Monday to prevent violent demonstrations by supporters of former President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, who has been placed under house arrest.
Unknown people threw eight hand grenades while roadblocks were erected in several parts of Bujumbura inhabited by supporters of the leader of the radical Tutsi opposition Party for National Recovery (PARENA).
Burundi's minister of interior and public security Salvator Ntihabose accused the former president of steering violence with the intention of causing an uprising against the incumbent head of state, Major Pierre Buyoya.
Addressing a news conference, Ntihabose claimed that a plot was underway to physically eliminate the top leadership to create a power vacuum, which Bagaza hoped to exploit to seize power.
The minister said that a series of measures had been taken to neutralise Bagaza and several of his supporters.
Ntihabose recalled that the police had uncovered subversive documents during last Friday's search at Bagaza's residence.
He did not reveal the nature of these documents.
However, certain independent sources said that the police discovered reports of meetings held at the Burundi army high command, which Bagaza obtained from senior army officers who back him.
Meanwhile, Ntihabose told the hastily convened news conference that with effect from Monday, Bagaza had lost his immunity as a Senator, which paves the way for his arrest and possible imprisonment in case he is found guilty.
On the other hand, the government has since Sunday withdrawn the South African bodyguards who had been assigned to Bagaza.
Instead, the government has posted gendarmes to monitor his movements within his residence.
Last Friday, the police arrested four senior PARENA officials, including its spokesman Zenon Nimubone for their alleged involvement in a putsch against Major Pierre Buyoya.
The minister promised that the police would flush out those who threw hand grenades on Monday, which did not cause any injuries.