SOS-TORTURE/BURUNDI REPORT N ° 160 PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 5, 2019
This SOS-Torture/Burundi report covers the period between 29 December 2018 and 5 January 2019 about cases of human rights violations and abuses in Burundi.
At least four (4) persons were murdered during the period and in different locations. Among the victims are an octogenarian and her little girl stabbed in Mwaro. Another trader was shot dead in Makamba, and a man survived an assassination attempt after being stabbed by imbonerakure militiamen in Cibitoke.
The report also mentions the arrest of four (4) members of Muslim community in Makamba, in conflict with the representation of their community following their refusal to join the ruling party CNDD-FDD.
Sos-Torture/Burundi also reports the systematic looting of homes of opponents and senior officers in exile in recent weeks in the city of Bujumbura. These acts of vandalism and illegal occupation committed by police agents follow the government’s announcement to plunder owners accused of undermining state security.
- Violations of the right to life and to physical integrity
- Unidentified individuals murdered Cécile Gatete (80 years) and Audrey Bukeyeneza (20 years) on Namande hill, Rusaka commune, Mwaro province (center of the country) on 1 January 2019 in the evening. Relatives report that the victims were stabbed. The young girl is the little daughter of Mrs. Gatete.
- Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that Rusaka police have announced the arrest of a suspect.
- Members of imbonerakure militiamen attempted to kill Pierre Nzoyisaba in Rugombo commune, Cibitoke province (north-west of the country) on 1 January 2019 in the evening. Relatives report that he was stabbed at the coast and stripped of his property by the same aggressors.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the police have not yet arrested any suspects to date. Witnesses report that the perpetrators are among imbonerakure militiamen who perform night patrols, and who attack the inhabitants at night.
- Unidentified individuals shot dead Emile Ntahiraja on Gifumbe hill, Kibago commune, Makamba province (south of the country) on January 3, 2019. Relatives report that the victim was intercepted back from his commerce and money-changer activities near the Burundian-Tanzanian border.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that Kibago police have not yet identified any suspects of this murder.
- Unidentified individuals murdered Désiré Nihorimbere on Mukimba Hill, Nyanza-Lac commune, Makamba Province (South of the Country) on 3 January 2019.
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the police have announced the arrest of two alleged perpetrators.
- Violations of the right to liberty and physical security
- Police agents arrested Saleh Katandazi, Moussa Nimbesha, Ferouz Karenzi and Pascal Niyukuri in the center of the commune and Makamba province (south of the country) on December 26, 2018. Witnesses report that the four men are members of the Muslim community local, and are accused by the representative of this community of rebellion against the hierarchy.
Sos-Torture/Burundi also learned about the interference of Makamba CNDD-FDD party leaders in controlling local Muslim community through the current representatives of this community. Relatives of those arrested reported that these four men were victims of not having joined the ruling party. These are abusive and arbitrary detentions.
- Members of the Imbonerakure militiamen assaulted and beated up Alphonse Nibigira in Mparambo I zone, Rugombo commune, Cibitoke province (north-west of the country) in the evening of 1 January 2019. Relatives report that the attackers left the victim dying.
SOS-Torture/Burundi notes the violence of aggression, and the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators known to the police because they are among the militiamen who carry out nocturnal “patrols”.
- Burundian authorities authorises systematic looting of homes of opponents in exile.
Sos-Torture/Burundi learned of the systematic looting of several houses of opponents and former high-ranking defense forces in the city of Bujumbura. Witnesses report that the looting was carried out by agents of the police and Burundian Intelligence Service.
The houses targeted include the one of Colonel Gerard Cishahayo, former head of the intelligence service whose house is located in Kinindo (south of Bujumbura) was vandalized in early December 2018 while police agents came to the house to arrest him in the investigation of the assassination of former President Melchior Ndadaye. Relatives report that the concerned was no longer at his residence, and looting began that same day.
On December 29, 2018, other police agents ransacked and looted the house of General Pontien Gaciyubwenge, former Minister of Defense until 2015 who is currently living in exile. Witnesses report that the same operation was conducted at the homes of General Godefroid Niyombare and Mr. Onesime Nduwimana also in exile. They are respectively former head of the Burundian intelligence service and former spokesman of the ruling party CNDD FDD.
Sos-Torture/Burundi also learned of the looting of the residence of General Philbert Habarugira and that of Lieutenant-Colonel Eduard Nshimirimana on January 2, 2019 all in Kinanira district, Muha commune (south of Bujumbura city).
Sos-Torture/Burundi notes that the looting is the result of statements by the Minister of Justice who announced on 13 December 2018 the intention of the authorities to steal and resell the owners of houses “where weapons have been seized” since the beginning of 2015 crisis. Sos-Torture Burundi had raised the risk that these illegal acts would target the property of persons living in exile and opposed to the government (see Sos-Torture Burundi report N ° 157: http://sostortureburundi.org/ wp-content / uploads / 2018/12 / SOS_Torture_Burundi_numero_157.docx). Looting and illegal occupation by police confirm these fears.
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.