SOS-TORTURE/BURUNDI REPORT No. 155 PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 1, 2018
This report of Sos-Torture/Burundi covers the period between 24 November and 1st December 2018 concerning cases of human rights violations and abuses in Burundi.
At least fourteen (14) persons were murdered and two assassination attempts occurred during the period and in different localities. The victims of these killings are miners killed by soldiers; none survived. No investigation has been conducted to determine the circumstances of this massacre.
The report also mentions twenty-seven (27) cases of arbitrary arrests including twenty-three (23) the majority are members of FNL opposition party faithful to MP Agathon Rwasa. A police officer also benefited from the release following the complicity of administrative officials while he was caught in the act of theft.
- Violations of the right to life and to physical integrity
- On November 25, 2018 in the evening; Soldiers killed fourteen (14) persons on Kibaya and Ruhembe hills, Ndora zone, Bukinanyana commune, Cibitoke province (north-west of the country). Witnesses report that the victims are gold miners caught exploiting minerals despite a ban by the provincial authorities. Witnesses also report that the soldiers were accompanied by members of the imbonerakure militiamen who conduct night patrols on all the hills.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes summary execution of these fourteen (14) persons, without any attempt to stop them in order to answer for their possible offense in courts. Sos-Torture/Burundi also notes that there were no survivors of the massacre, and that the names of the victims have not been disclosed by the police or the army.
- Members of Imbonerakure militiamen attempted to assassinate Juvenal and Simon on Kinganda Hill, Rutana commune and province (south-east of the country) on 27 November 2018. Witnesses report that the two men were visiting a plot of land in dispute at the time of their aggression.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the victims managed to escape. The police did not open any investigation to identify the perpetrators of the assault.
- Violations of the right to liberty and physical security
- Police agents arrested Celestin Karenzo nicknamed Kitoko in the center of Nyanza-Lac commune, Makamba province (south of the country) on November 21, 2018. This one is the judicial police commissioner of Nyanza-Lac, accused of theft of motorcycles. Witnesses report that he was released on 26 November 2018 following pressure from his brother, administrator of Kayogoro commune (Makamba province) and member of CNDD-FDD ruling party.
SOS-Torture/Burundi notes the abuse of power of an administrative officer for the release of an alleged thief and the complicity of the police in Makamba who released this agent despite the flagrancy when seizing stolen motorcycles at his home.
- Police agents arrested Messiah Ntunzwenayo and another man on Gafumbegeti hill, Butahana zone, Mabayi commune, Cibitoke province (north-west of the country) on 24 November 2018. This is Gafumbegeti hill chief and his driver. Witnesses report that they are accused of selling weapons to groups based in the Kibira Forest. The police also reported seizing three (3) assault rifles Kalashnikov from Mr. Ntunzwenayo.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the police did not mention possible accomplices in the sale of these weapons to know their origin and the destination of funds from the sale.
Sos-Torture/Burundi also learned of the suspension of Rutorero hill chief named Wilson Bakara by Cibitoke governor. Local residents report that he is accused of collaborating with FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) groups of former Rwandan genocide perpetrators, who would benefit from the complicity of Burundian authorities who confirm their presence in Burundi.
- Police agents in complicity with members of Imbonerakure militiamen arrested nineteen (19) persons on Kabingo hill, Giharo commune, Rutana province (south-east of the country) on 25 November 2018. All those arrested are members of FNL opposition party faithful to Agathon Rwasa.
Sos-Torture/Burundi was able to identify fourteen (14) persons among arrested activists: Jean Pierre Nzoyisaba, Vénérand Sibomana, Athanase Bizimana, Oscar Karenzo, Donatien Nyawenda, Ms. Consolate Kanani, Isaiah Surwavuba, Ndubaraye, Abel Bingwa, Cyriaque Nininahazwe, Ndayishimiye, André Ntahondereye, Ntegakaje, François Ngeziminwe and Bosco.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that police agents and militiamen accused them of holding an unauthorized meeting. FNL party militants are targeted by untimely arrests and often for refusing to join CNDD-FDD ruling party.
- Police agents arrested Revocat Niyonizigiye and Chadrack in the center of Makamba commune, Makamba province (south of the country) on November 26, 2018. Relatives report that the order to arrest them comes from the governor of Makamba, Gad Niyukuri. He accuses them of collaborating with armed groups.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes illegal arrests and abuse of power by the governor of Makamba already involved in other cases of illegal arrests. MM. Niyonizigiye and Chadrack were released after several hours of detention.
- Police agents arrested Jean Marie Nkurunziza in Vugizo commune, Makamba province (south of the country) on November 26, 2018. Relatives report that he is accused of having criticized the Burundian authorities in a bistro the day before his arrest. Mr. Jean Marie Nkurunziza is a teacher of Matyazo Basic School.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that agents of the national intelligence service extracted Mr. Nkurunziza from his cell in the Vugizo police cell to take him to an unknown destination. There is a fear for the safety of this teacher.
- Police agents arrested Nsengiyumva (25 years old) in Gihanga commune, Bubanza province (west of the country) on November 27, 2018. Relatives report that this man had just arrived in Gihanga from Bururi province (his province of residence) to visit his sister. Police agents accused him of being a fighter from Rwanda.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the same agents tortured Mr. Nsengiyumva forcing him to confess being a fighter. Relatives report that he is the victim of having a passport containing stamps of Burundian and Rwandan immigration at different dates of crossing the border. Sos-Torture/Burundi also notes that this is not the first victim arrested or tortured for traveling or staying in Rwanda since the beginning of the crisis. These people are victims of the strained relations between Burundi and Rwanda since 2015.
- Members of the Imbonerakure militia arrested Lazare Rumambo (nicknamed Yuda) at his home on Mugerama Hill, Nyanza Lake Commune, Makamba Province (southern Sudan) on November 29, 2018. Witnesses report that the ruling party militiamen exhibited military uniforms, claiming to have found them in Mr. Rumambo’s house.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes illegal search and arrest carried out by militiamen of the CNDD-FDD party. Relatives report that Mr. Rumambo is an active member of the opposition party FNL. Fear that this arrest is related to the man’s political affiliation.
- National Intelligence Service agents arrested Fidel Niyomwungere from his home in Vyuya zone, Mugamba commune, Bururi province, south of the country, on November 29, 2018. Relatives report that he is an active militant of FNL opposition party faithful to MP Agathon Rwasa. He is accused of participating in armed gangs.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the SNR accuses him of having made several trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo. These agents conducted a search, however, which did not allow any seizure. Fear that this arrest is related to Mr. Niyomwungere’s political affiliation.
- Police agents arrested Jean Ciza and Égide Bucumi on Mugerama Hill, Nyanza Lac Commune, Makamba Province (South of the country) on November 30, 2018. Relatives report that the two (2) men are members of the opposition party FROLINA (Front for National Liberation).
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the police failed to notify relatives of the reasons for the arrest of the two opposition members.
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.