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Burundi Watch Monthly Update – January 2019

EAC Receives final report on Burundian dialogue

In the last quarter of 2018, the government of Burundi did all to sabotaged all the efforts aimed at finding a solution to the inter-Burundian dialogue. Twice, it boycotted the EAC Summit that was scheduled on 30 November and 27 December 2018. During the same period, tensions between President Nkurunziza of Burundi and President Museveni of Uganda rose as they exchanged scathing letters[1] respectively dated 4 and 8 December 2018.

As the Summit reviewed the situation in Burundi, during the 20th ordinary summit that was finally organized on 1 February 2019, it decided to consult further. In effect, point 21 of the Joint Communiqué[2] mentions that the Summit received the report from the facilitator of the inter-Burundian dialogue and thanked him for his contribution during his tenure. The Summit decided to consult further on the inter-Burundian dialogue process. This means that the facilitator has completed his assignment.

Meantime, Burundi was demanding that the EAC deliberate on the relationship between Burundi and Rwanda as Bujumbura claims that Rwanda provides supports to armed groups aimed at attacking Burundi.

Opposition leaders homes ransacked

After the release of a documentary by the BBC that documented the summary execution of Burundians in Burundi[3], the Minister of Justice Aimé Laurentine Kanyana and several senior officials in the judiciary organized a session of information dedicated to diplomats[4] on 13 December 2018 and deployed on location of the documentary in Kinindo Avenue Ntwarante n° 76.

During a press conference held on 4 January 2019, the Minister of Justice stated that it is not normal that some Burundians commit crimes and their family continue enjoying the wealth and well-being as the family of the victims continue to suffer and are deprived of all resources.

She added that ever since that incident, houses and properties of criminals will be seized and sold to compensate the families of the victims. Since the declaration, several houses of former dignitaries were ransacked and looted by the NIS agents, the police and Imbonerakure militiamen. These include the properties of former Vice President Bernard Busokoza, that of the former Minister of Communication Onesime Nduwimana, that of former Minister of Defence Major General Pontien Gaciyubwenge, that of former boss of the NIS, Godefroid Niyombare to name but a few.

It is worth mentioning that all the concerned persons have currently fled the country and live in exile.

Sectarian practices on the rise  

On 21 December 2018, the Spokesperson of the President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, Mr. Jean Claude Ndenzako announced that his government has taken a historical decision of the transfer of the capital city to Gitega. Therefore, Gitega will be the political capital of Burundi whereas Bujumbura will remain the economic capital. For some time, Gitega has been the very center of important decisions. For example, the campaign aimed at revising the constitution and its promulgation were done in Bugendana in the Province of Gitega. At the end of the crusades held in Gitega during the Summer of 2017, Pierre Nkurunziza instructed the installation of a 3 tons stone where the ruling CNDD-FDD party meets every year.

During the month of January, the CNDD-FDD organized a week of crusades where important teachings were done and speeches made. At the same time, the party collected funds worth 1 840 074 275 BIF (1 000 000 USD) and many other items including 610 bags of cement and other materials for constructions, food and beverages. According to the CNDD-FDD leaders, the money will be used for the construction of an altar in memory of the promises of God. During the same prayers, President Pierre Nkurunziza taught the crowds as he replaced the names of Moses by his, pretending that God from now on directs messages through him. On the other side, the Secretary General of the CNDD-FDD, Major General Evariste Ndayishimiye who is a native of Gitega stated that the capital city of Burundi moved to Gitega for Bujumbura is the house for demons.

Human rights violations

On 1 January 2019, an 80 year old woman Cécile Gatete and her  20 year old daughter  Audrey Bukeyeneza  were killed by unknown people at  Namande hill, in the District of Rusaka

On 2 January 2019, a non- commissioned officer Félix Nahimana was arrested in the District of Makamba and detained at Makamba under the order of the governor of Makamba, Mr Gad Niyukuri

On 3 January 2019, Emile Ntahiraja was shot dead by unidentified gunmen at Gifumbe hill in the District of Kibago

On 3 January 2019, Désiré Nihorimbere was killed at Mukimba Hill in the District of Nyanza-Lac

On 4 January 2019, a 70-year-old man Ntirongwa was wounded by Imbonerakure in Mbizi in the District of Kibago.

On 4 January 2019, Jean Kamwenubusa, Jean Paul, Nizigama, Hazimana, Nsanzurwimo and Claude Bizimana were arrested by the police in the District of Murwi. Witnesses report that the order of arrest came from the chief of the District of Murwi for “lack of respect”. Relatives report that the six arrested men are all militants of the opposition coalition Amizero y’Abarundi.

On 5 January 2019, a grenade attack in Ntega District resulted in a 48-year-old man Ferdinand Hakizimana and his two children being wounded.

On 7 January 2019, the representative of the opposition PARENA party in Rumonge, Avit Nshimirimana was arrested in Kizuka and detained in the NIS Rumonge

On 8 January 2019, the dead body of a 60-year-old man Naphal Mpawenimana was recovered at Mukoma hill in the District of Mabayi

On 9 January 2019, five (5) young men belonging to opposition parties MSD, UPRONA and CNDD namely Emmanuel Niyonganji, Melance Irambona, Ninteretse Renovat, Pascal Ahishakiye and Jean Bosco Niyomwungere on Busenga hill in the District of Burambi were arrested in Busaga in the District of Burambi by the Police Commissioner Arthemon Niyonkura alias Ntibaheke and detained in the NIS in Rumonge as they were accused of deleting slogans and drawings on the monuments of the CNDD-FDD ruling party.

On 11 January 2019, Emmanuel Rambarasi shot dead his 30-year-old wife Denise Nyabenda at Kiyonza Hill in the District of Bugabira

On 12 January 2019, Police agents arrested and tortured Adrien Sibomana at Nyamitanga hill in the District of Buganda. Eyewitnesses report that police agents accused him of theft three days before

On 14 January 2019, Unidentified individuals murdered a young man whose body was found on Bugiga hill in the District of Bukemba 2019. Witnesses report that the body was in a field of rice, with traces on her arms, signs that she was tortured before her death.

On 15 January, a primary school teacher, Harerimana Gédéon was arrested in Gatete in the District of Rumonge as he quarreled with the chief of the former CNDD-FDD combatants

On 16 January 2019, the dead body of Arsene Ndabihawenimana was found in a gutter located in Socartie quarter in the District of Kinama. The victim was the Director of Electricity Department of Bujumbura International Airport. Witnesses report that Mr. Ndabihawenimana was strangled.

On 17 January 2019, unidentified individuals murdered a young man whose body was discovered in Kayanza. Witnesses report that the victim was tied up and then slaughtered.

On 19 January 2019, unidentified individuals murdered a 45-year-old Ildephonse Nduwimana whose body was discovered on Gihasha sub-hill, Kinzanza Hill, Gitanga Commune. Witnesses report that the victim was beheaded and his arm amputated by his executioners.

On 19 January 2019, a grenade attack resulted in one person being killed whereas two persons including a policeman and a woman were wounded in Mutakura in the District of Ntahangwa.

On 20 January 2019, person known as Firmansoni was killed by unknown people in the neigbourhood of Birimba in the District of Rumonge

On 22 January 2019, Emelyne Miburo was shot dead at Butihinda hill in the District of   Muyinga

On 23 January 2019, a disabled man known as Ntasoni aka Soni was gravely wounded by an Imbonerakure known as Claude at the location known as Chez Musoda in Ruvumu of the District of Bubanza

On 27 January 2019, intensive gunshots were reported between the 8th and 9th street of Giganfa as assailants came from Rukoko natural reserve and confronted the national army. The fights resulted in 3 militaries being killed whereas 6 were wounded. According to inhabitants of Gihanga, the assailants returned to Rukoko natural reserve

On 27 January 2019, a grenade attack in a pub in Buterere in the District of Buterere resulted in 8 persons being wounded

On 27 January 2019, a dead body of unidentified person was recovered floating at Ruvyironza river at Gasanu hill in the District of Giheta

On 29 January 2019, a member of the MSD party Anne Marie Sinzumunsi was arrested in the Buringa in the District of Gihanga and released 4 days later

On 30 January 2019 Jonathan Ndikumwenayo, Alain Sindimwo and Jacques Ndayizeye were arrested by Imbonerakure in Buhayira Hill in the District of Murwi

On 30 January 2019, Anonciate Nijimbere and her sister Beatrice were arrested in the District of Rutovu as the chief of District of Rutana, Isidora Nkundizanye accused them of human trafficking

[1] See Yoweri Museveni and Pierre Nkurunziza in a bitter exchange  available on https://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/Yoweri-Museveni-and-Pierre-Nkurunziza-in-a-bitter-exchange/1840340-4895978-jbiy0bz/index.html

[2] See Joint Communiqué of the 20th Summit of the EAC available on  https://www.eac.int/communique/1343-joint-communiqu%C3%A9-20th-ordinary-summit-of-heads-of-state-of-the-east-african-community

[3] See Kamwe Kamwe : Burundi Inside Killing machine on  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZPkRLkUiYo

[4] See Séance d’information organisée par le ministère des affaires étrangères….du 13 décembre 2018 available on https://www.mae.gov.bi/2018/12/18/seance-dinformation-organisee-par-le-ministere-des-affaires-etrangere-a-lendroit-des-membres-du-corps-diplomatique-accredite-a-bujumbura-le-18-decembre-2018/

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