SOS-TORTURE/BURUNDI REPORT NO. 157 PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 15, 2018
This report of Sos-Torture/Burundi covers the period between 8 and 15 December 2018 on cases of human rights violations in Burundi.
At least five (5) persons were murdered during the period and in different localities. Among the victims two (2) men were executed in the Kibira Forest. They were found tied up to a tree. An opposition member was murdered during an ambush and another victim is a young man tied up and murdered before being thrown into a river in an attempt to make him disappear.
The report mentions cases of arbitrary arrests and an attack by members of imbonerakure militiamen on a member of the opposition.
The Report also mentions the rape of a pregnant woman whose violence has caused abortion.
Sos-Torture Burundi also notes the intention of the Burundian authorities to rob owners of houses where weapons have been seized since the beginning of 2015 crisis. This is an illegal practice that mainly targets opponents and people living in exile.
- Violations of the right to life and to physical integrity
- Two (2) members of the imbonerakure militiamen attempted to assassinate Theodore in Gihanga commune, Bubanza province (west of the country) on December 7, 2018. Relatives report that the victim and his torturers shared the benefice from the sale of second-hand mobile phones. The group did not agree on sharing money from one of the sales. Militiamen Jean Bosco Bizimana and Euphraim tortured the victim by cutting off a testicle and seriously wounding the rest of his genitals.
Sos-Torture Burundi notes the violence of the assault and the emergency transfer of the victim to a hospital in the capital Bujumbura to receive care. Sos-Torture/Burundi also notes that Gihanga’s police have announced the arrest of one of the attackers, Jean Bosco Bizimana.
- Unidentified individuals murdered Simon Nkezamihigo (nicknamed Rubera) on Muramba hill, Kirundo commune and province (north of the country) on December 10, 2018. Relatives report that he was returning home with his sister-in-law when they were surrounded by a group of men armed with machetes and clubs. Mr. Nkezamihigo (48) received many machete strikes and did not survive as his sister-in-law was able to bury himself during the ambush.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes the violence of aggression. Relatives report that the victim had been released from prison after being detained on political charges. Mr. Nkezamihigo, a member of the opposition party Frodebu-Nyakuri (whose party leader Jean Minani lives in exile and heads the main platform of the opposition CNARED), was threatened with reprisals if he did not join the party CNDD-FDD. There is a high probability that this assassination is linked to political motives.
- Unidentified individuals murdered Salvator Ngendabanka, whose body was found on Kibati Hill, Masango Zone, Bukinanyana Commune, Cibitoke Province (north-west of the country) on December 11, 2018 at night.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that Bukinanyana police announced the arrest of two suspects, but did not disclose their identities or the circumstances of Mr. Ngendabanka’s assassination.
- Two (2) individuals threated and raped a woman on Rubuye hill, Rugombo commune, Cibitoke province (north-west of the country) on December 10, 2018 in the evening. Relatives report that the victim was intercepted while returning from the fields around 18 hours. The young woman was pregnant, and aborted following the violent aggression. The victim was evacuated by passersby while she was dying after the rape.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that Rugombo police arrested two (2) men accused of being the perpetrators of the sexual assault on December 11, 2018. Angry residents were preparing to kill them shortly before the intervention of police agents.
- Unidentified individuals murdered a young man whose body was found tied up and floating Ndurumu River between Buhiga and Bugenyuzi communes, Karusi province (central-east of the country) on 13 December 2018. Witnesses report that the victim is not an inhabitant of the locality.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes a summary execution with the attempt to anonymously remove the victim in the river. Sos-Torture/Burundi also notes that no investigation has been opened to identify the victim, since Buhiga communal administrator ordered the burial of the young man in a rush.
- Unidentified individuals executed two (2) men whose bodies were found in Kibira Forest on Gafumbegeti Hill, Butahana Zone, Mabayi Commune, Cibitoke Province (north-west of the country) on December 15, 2018. Witnesses report that the victims were tied up to a tree.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the victims have not been identified, which raises fears of a double execution of people who do not live in the locality but have been displaced in the forest from another locality. Police have not identified the victims to date, nor the circumstances of their executions.
- Violations of the right to liberty and physical security
- Police agents arrested Juvenal Havyarimana on Gihofi hill, Bukemba commune, Rutana province (south-east of the country) on 10 December 2018. This one is an employee of the Moso Sugar Company (SOSUMO) based in Gihofi. Relatives report that the man was arrested on the orders of the director of human resources of SOSUMO, who accuses him of having hosted Tanzanian “fetishers” wanting to attack his life.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes an arbitrary arrest based on obscurantist beliefs that do not constitute evidence for detention. Relatives also report the existence of a conflict between Mr. Havyarimana and the director of human resources of the company that employs him.
– Unidentified individuals abducted Jeanne Inamahoro on December 12, 2018 while she was on her way home from work. Witnesses report that the victim is a Nurse Sub-Officer at the Burundian Navy. Since his abduction, the Sub-Officer Inamahoro cannot be found by his relatives in the detention cells of Bujumbura and fear that he was executed.
- Members of Imbonerakure militiamen assaulted Bakurakubusa on Bigera Hill, Mutaho Commune, Gitega Province, (center of the country), on December 9, 2018 in the evening. Relatives report that the victim was beaten in the face, on arms and legs when demanding the reimbursement of his money to the local representative of CNDD-FDD ruling party. The latter ordered imbonerakure militiamen Jérémie Ntahombaye and Dieudonné Ndacayisaba to beat Mr. Bakurakubusa.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes the violence of the aggression, and the complicity of the police who did not arrest any of the suspects despite the complaint lodged by the victim. Mr. Havyarimana is an activist of FNL opposition party faithful to MP Agathon Rwasa. The impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators is linked to their political affiliation with the party in power CNDD-FDD.
- Police agents arrested Arielle Sabushimike in Bujumbura city hall on December 14, 2018. Witnesses indicate that these policemen were in a pickup car. Relatives report that the victim is detained in the cell of the National Intelligence Service of Bujumbura.
Sos-Torture / Burundi notes that the police have not yet communicated the reason for his arrest.
- Forced collection is increasing in all sectors
A few days before the end of the year, Sos-Torture/Burundi notes an upsurge in the forced collections of funds from the population for 2020 elections. In addition to the schools where the directors threaten to keep the transcripts of pupils who will not pay their taxes, the provincial administration blames the transporters.
Witnesses report that the governor of Rumonge province (southwest of the country) Juvenal Bigirimana blocked the public transport to request a contribution of 12,000 francs to every bus and taxi driver working in the province. These collections are an obligation to have the right to ship customers. The Governor himself distributed the receipt books for these contributions in the parking lots of the transport vehicles.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that these forced collections take place despite the existence of other funds paid as household contributions (2000 francs per household). Witnesses among the victims report that this is a double contribution that impoverishes the households: children (or their parents) contribute indeed as a household member at home, but also as a pupil at school. The same is true for drivers, vendors and any other person engaged in an income-generating activity.
Sos-Torture/Burundi also learned about the order given by the governor of Rumonge to collect a bag of cement and building materials from every public service worker working in the province. These collections are added to those for the 2020 elections.
- Burundian authorities on the verge of robbing homeowners
Sos-Torture/Burundi has learned of the intention of the Ministry of Justice to auction houses “where weapons have been seized” during the crisis since 2015. The announcement was made by the Burundian Minister of Justice Laurentine Kanyana on December 13, 2018. This announcement follows the broadcast of a BBC radio investigation into the existence of houses of torture and executions of opponents of the President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes a flagrant violation of the law and the ongoing assembly to seize property of people most of whom live in exile. Several scenes were organized by the government in the context of “seizures of weapons” in empty houses and this was publicized by the Burundian authorities to accuse exiled opposition members of wanting to disrupt security. During these operations, the police and national intelligence officers looted property from absentee owners.
In this auction announcement, there is a desire to steal all the property of people who have fled for fear of their safety, and to have refused to support the third term of President Nkurunziza, which has led to thousands of victims since 2015.
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.