SOS-TORTURE/BURUNDI REPORT No. 159 PUBLISHED ON 29 DECEMBER 2018
This report of Sos-Torture/Burundi covers the period between 22 and 29 December 2018 concerning cases of human rights violations in Burundi.
At least four (4) persons were murdered during the period and in different locations. The victims include two (2) unidentified men, a mason and a member of the imbonerakure militiamen shot dead by a police agent.
The report also mentions two (2) cases of torture and enforced disappearances. Victims are active police Brigadier kidnapped by imbonerakure militiamen in Cibitoke and a man of Rwandan origin arrested by militiamen and handed over to Cibitoke intelligence agents.
Among the victims of the arbitrary arrests, the report mentions a case of an employee of an international NGO arrested by soldiers in Bujumbura city.
- Violations of the right to life and to physical integrity
- Members of the imbonerakure militiamen abducted BPC2 Police Brigadier Domitien Hakuziyaremye from the Ruhororo zone, Mabayi commune, Cibitoke province (north-west) on 19 December 2018 in the evening. This Non-Commissioned Office is assigned to the Burundian-Rwandan border in Ruhororo zone. Witnesses report that he responded to the call of Ruhororo Zone Commander Tharcisse Kamwenubusa, who was waiting for him with four (4) youths from imbonerakure militiamen. The brigadier police was tied up and relatives reported that he would be accused by the militiamen of facilitating goods traffic to Rwanda and collaborating with Rwandan agents.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that Brigadier Domitien Hakuziyaremye has been disappeared since his abduction. Witnesses report that the victim was also tortured. There is a strong fear for the physical security of this Non-Commissioned Officer. Sos-Torture/Burundi also notes that Cibitoke Intelligence Service arrested seven (7) persons including Ruhororo Zone Chief during the investigation. Brigadier Hakuziyaremye comes from the former PALIPEHUTU-FNL rebellion led by Agathon Rwasa at the time.
Sos-Torture/Burundi also notes the contradictory statements of the National Police, via its twitter account, concerning the situation of Brigadier Hakuziyaremye. Police say he is “imprisoned in Kamembe, Rwanda,” in a tweet published on December 27, 2018 more than a week after his disappearance.
- Unidentified individuals murdered a man whose body was found in Kanyenkoko quarter, Rumonge commune and province (south-west of the country) on December 23, 2018. Witnesses report that the victim has not been identified.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the police have not determined the circumstances of the man’s death, nor identified any suspects.
- Unidentified individuals murdered a man whose body was found on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Ngagara zone, Ntahangwa commune (north of Bujumbura city) on December 23, 2018. Witnesses report that the victim was carrying facial injuries traces; the body had no clothes, which confirms that he was also stripped before or after his execution.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the police did not identify the victim, nor determined the circumstances of his murder as well as the alleged perpetrators.
- Police agent Simon Ndayikengurukiye (APN 1386) shot dead Elias Ntakirutimana on Nyagihotora Hill, Matana Commune, Bururi Province, southern part of the country, on December 25, 2018 in the evening. Witnesses report that the police agent was trying to defend himself against the young imbonerakure who wanted to disarm him and take his service weapon, thinking he was drunk. The person killed was the leader of imbonerakure militiamen of Nyagihotora hill, it was him who commanded this youth who had the mission to take the service weapon of the police agent.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the police agent Ndayikengurukiye has been arrested and detained pending the organization of a trial following the flagrancy procedure. He was chief of barracks on Nyagihotora hill. The judges of Bururi Intermediate Court later sentenced him to ten (10) years’ imprisonment for murder after a “flagrance” hearing on 27 December 2018.
- Unidentified individuals murdered Germain Ngendambizi (67 years), whose body was found on Burarana Hill, Muzenga zone, Bururi commune and province (south of the country) on December 26, 2018. Witnesses report that the victim, a mason, wore traces of wounds in the mouth.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that Bururi police have arrested four (4) suspects, but the investigation has not confirmed that it has been able to gather all the evidence of their culpability.
- Police agents assigned to the security of the head of Cibitoke province intelligence service tortured a man of Rwandan origin illegally arrested by members of imbonerakure militiamen in Ndora zone, Bukinanyana commune, Cibitoke province (north- west of the country) on December 26, 2018. Witnesses report that the unidentified victim was selling livestock at Ndora market at the time of his arrest by these militiamen. They stripped him of his money and handed over to the Ndora zone chief. Witnesses report that the latter, in turn, gave it to the head of Cibitoke SNR.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the victim was subsequently tortured several times in the office of Cibitoke head of SNR, the police agent OPP1 Venant Miburo. Witnesses report that the victim was moved to an unknown destination by the same SNR agents. There is a risk of execution of the victim following his Rwandan origins. Relations between Burundi and Rwanda have been strained since the beginning of the crisis; Burundian authorities accuse Rwanda of destabilizing Burundi.
- Violations of the right to liberty and physical security
- Elements of the army arrested Albert Niyonkuru (nicknamed Rwembe) in Kinindo zone, Muha commune (south of Bujumbura town) on 24 December 2018 in the evening. Witnesses report that he was in a bar at the time of his arrest. Mr. Niyonkuru is an employee of the NGO Handicap International assigned to his office in Makamba province (south of the country).
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes an arbitrary arrest of a harmless civilian by soldiers, who did not notify relatives of the reasons for this arrest. The soldiers embarked the victim in the direction of Muha military camp located in Musaga zone (south of Bujumbura city). There is a strong fear for the safety of Mr. Niyonkuru.
- The head of Cibitoke province national intelligence service (north-west of the country) in complicity with the head of imbonerakure militiamen arrested Mr. Ntahomvukiye on Nyagwondi hill, Butahana zone, Mabayi commune, Cibitoke province on December 28, 2018. Witnesses report that the victim was tied up before being taken to an unknown destination into the vehicle of theb National Intelligence Service Officer, OPP1 Vénant Miburo registered D3981A. Relatives also report that Mr. Ntahomvukiye was accused of not joining CNDD-FDD party.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes an arbitrary arrest of Mr. Ntahomvukiye. Witnesses also report that he is an activist of the opposition coalition amizero y’Abarundi. Ntahomvukiye’s arrest appears motivated by his political convictions.
SOS-Torture/Burundi was initiated with the aim of informing national and international opinion about serious human rights violations under way in Burundi through monitoring reports, particularly on torture, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, sexual violence and summary executions.This initiative to inform about the realities of the country followed a series of assassinations of a hundred people killed during the day of 11 and 12 December , 2015 by the police and military on the pretext of pursuing rebels who came to attack military camps on the outskirts of the capital city.The affected zones are said to be contesting the third term of President Nkurunziza namely Musaga, Mutakura, Cibitoke, Nyakabiga, Jabe, the last two being located in the center of the Bujumbura City Council.