By SOS Médias Burundi
Burundian police said they had killed “22 criminals” in Bujumbura province (western Burundi) last week.
However, local sources say that police and Imbonerakure executed people who were presented as “rebels”.
In a press conference held in Bujumbura (commercial capital of Burundi) Tuesday, the police spokesman said that a group of armed criminals had been identified in the districts of Isale and Nyabiraba since Wednesday and that raking operations continued from that day until Sunday.
For the spokesman, “criminals” are taking advantage of this pre-electoral period.
“Criminals are taking advantage of the distraction of the attention of the population which is now directed towards the forthcoming elections”, he stressed before adding that this is a phenomenon of criminality which is scientifically explainable.
“When in a country there is a big event, all the citizens see their attention turning to this big event and vigilance for other cases of crime decreases in favour of this important event”, explained Pierre Nkurikiye.
Police in Bujumbura province reported “22 criminals and 2 police officers killed” in the clashes.
According to Pierre Nkurikiye, one of the “criminals” said to be the head of the gang was a teacher at the Maranata High School in Kivoga, in Mutimbuzi district in the province of Bujumbura.
But the teacher was arrested last Sunday, accompanied with two other men from the district of Mubimbi in the same province, according to our information.
Jean Bosco Minani, originally from Kiyenzi in the district of Kanyosha in the province of Bujumbura and the others arrested will eventually be executed.
“This teacher and the two men are part of a group of twelve people who have been executed”, said witnesses.
According to a local elected official who testified on condition of anonymity for security reasons, the executed people were buried in the Kinama village in the Nyabiraba zone and district.
“We buried them there because we had no other choice”, he said.
Since Monday, several photos showing men half naked, being beaten or lying on their stomachs have been circulating on social media.
According to testimonies collected by SOS Médias Burundi, they were taken in the locality of “Mugoti” in Nyabiraba district last Sunday.
We see individuals presented by residents as young Imbonerakure (some in T-shirts of the ruling party, the CNDD-FDD) beating or trying to strangle the arrested people.
The police did not provide an explanation for this in their communication.
Since Wednesday, the day when reports of an incursion by an armed group into the province of Bujumbura began to circulate, several people have been arrested in the districts of Isale, Nyabiraba and Kanyosha. Most of them are CNL members.
Relatives of those arrested say they fear for their safety.
“Our relatives were arrested over the weekend. We were told that some are here in the district police station while others are said to have been transferred to the Bujumbura city. We haven’t seen them”, said men and women met in front of the offices of the Nyabiraba district police station.
Since last night, a company of soldiers has been set up at that police station. It will have to stay there permanently until the end of the elections.