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SOS-TORTURE / BURUNDI

Rapport numero 40 (English version)

18 Septembre 2016 , Rédigé par DDH-Burundais

Warrant Office Eddy Claude Nyongera, died in suspected circumstances at SNR
Warrant Office Eddy Claude Nyongera, died in suspected circumstances at SNR

REPORT NO.40 OF SOS-TORTURE CAMPAIGN/BURUNDI RELEASES ON SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2016

In this SOS-Torture report of 10th to 17th September 2016, the SOS-Torture Campaign Burundi recalls that arbitrary arrests have continued in several areas.

At least twenty-seven persons (27) were arrested during operations conducted by the police and the National Intelligence Service. For each operation, no warrant was presented, much less the reason for the arrest.

Among the victims of arbitrary arrests, the SOS-Torture Campaign counts fourteen (14) persons arrested in Rwisabe zone, Mutaho commune, Gitega province. All these people are opposition party activists arrested on the order of the youth militia 'Imbonerakure after confrontations between the two groups.

The Campaign SOS-Torture Burundi also evokes the arbitrary arrest of another opposition activist, Glorisose Kwizera an MSD member party, she is also chief of Kinindo quarter in the city of Bujumbura.

Regarding the cases of murder, SOS-Torture was able to identify six people killed, including three members of the same family at Mugamba in Bururi province. The other three victims were slaughtered with machetes in different municipalities.

SOS-Torture Campaign/Burundi is seriously concerned about the case of a Non Commissioned Officer of the Burundian army; Senior Non Commissioned Eddy Claude Nyongera reported by the police that he was dead following a suicide by grenade. This statement is however contradicted by witnesses who reported that the Non Commissioned Officer was in custody and in a critical condition after a long session of torture in the premises of the National Intelligence Service. The SOS-Torture Campaign fears that it is either an execution disguised as suicide.

In the same context, other under officers (at least three) were arrested during the week but their place of detention are not yet known.

1. Arbitrary arrests, kidnapping and forced disappearances continue

- A young man named Clement Sindayihebura nicknamed 'Nyoni disappeared since September7th, 2016. Relatives of Mr. Sindayihebura, a native of Mugamba commune in Bururi province (south of the country) say it has been seen for the last time in theMutakura quarter (north of Bujumbura), where he had gone for a visit, after leavingNgagara zone (north of Bujumbura), where he currently resides.

Witnesses say the young man was arrested without any warrant or explanation by agents of the National Intelligence Service, but his place of detention is unknown. SOS-Torture Campaign asks Burundi National Police authorities and the National Intelligence Service to communicate on the situation of the young man and the charges against him, to assure his family and friends.

- Police arrested dozens of fruit and vegetables street seller’s women near the old central market in Bujumbura on September 8th, 2016. Witnesses say that those women were preparing to return home with their goods after traveling the city selling their products.

Police agents held them for a long time in custody located near the old central market of Bujumbura, before releasing them forcing upon payment of bribes to these agents. The SOS-Torture Campaign Burundi denounces this new form of disguised extortion by members of the security forces to civilians during raids operations that officially seek verification of identities, but ending in ransom.

- Police arrested a dozen of young men on September 9th 2016 in Nyabiharage quarter, commune and province of Gitega (central of the country). These young men were in a bus carrying in direction to the provinces of Bururi and Makamba.

The SOS-Torture Campaign Burundi noticed arbitrary arrests. The victims were on their way searching for job in other provinces, but the police say they do not have the right to travel to other provinces for work. This constitutes a serious violation of the freedom of movement enshrined in the Burundian Constitution and various international conventions ratified by Burundi. The young men were detained in police custody before being released, without having the right to move freely in the desired provinces.

- Police Unit "Support for the protection of the institutions' (API) arrested Mr. Emile Miburo in the town of Ngozi (north of the country) on September 11th, 2016.

No reason for his arrest was given, nor the presentation of a warrant of arrest, which constitutes arbitrary arrest. Also, his place of detention was not disclosed. SOS-Torture Campaign Burundi notices that this is a kidnapping followed by forced disappearance.Presidential Police gives reasons for the arrest of the civilian and communicate his place of detention.

- Agents of the National Police have arrested fourteen (14) persons in Rwisabe zone, Mutaho commune, Gitega province (central of the country) on 14th September 2016. These arrests came after clashes be tween youth militia ' Imbonerakure of the 'ruling party CNDD-FDD and opposition members whose relations were not good for several days.

The SOS-Torture Campaign Burundi notices that the police agents were supported by the same young militiamen “Imbonerakure” to arrest activists of opposition parties including the FNL and FRODEBU political parties, all of them accused of assault on a local elected at the level of hill. Several of the victims of arbitrary arrest were beaten by militiamen 'Imbonerakure' under the accomplices of policiers. Arrests were targeting opposition members in this commune, irrespective of those allegedly involved in clashes.

Those arrested are: Privat and Salvator (militants of FRODEBU) and Pierre Antoine, Claude, Omer, Elvis, Désiré Alfred Elie Masabo Gerard Harimenshi, Jeremiah, Fabien Kibinakanwa and Valentin Gakiza (activists ofFNL pro AgathonRwasa) .

- Agents of the National Intelligence Service arrested Ms. Gloriose Kwizera, Kinindo chief quarter on September 16th, 2016. She is a member of the opposition party MSD and is currently in the SNR custody.

No warrant was presented to Ms Kwizera nor reasons of arrest. She is the mother of 5 children (3 boys and 2 girls). The SOS-Torture Campaign Burundi finds a new arbitrary arrest of a local elected opposition. The intelligence services should communicate reasons for his arrest

Ms. GlorioseKwizera, Detained at NIS at Bujumbura

2. Murder, summary executions and armed attacks listed

- A group of men armed with machetes killed Lazare Nizigiyimana on the evening of September 9th, 2016 on Baziro hill, Gitobe commune, Kirundo province (north of the country). The victim was 60 years old. The Police arrested a suspect, but the motives of the crime are not known.

- Another armed group assassinated François Kangoye the same evening of September 9 on Gisitwe hill ,Ntega commune, Kirundo province (north of the contry). Perpetrators decapitated the victim after having slaughtered with machetes. The Police announced the arrest of two suspects.

- An armed group also murdered with machetes Bernard Bavyibuze on Buhoro hill ,Mabayi commune, Cibitoke province (north-west of the country) in the evening of September 11th, 2016. The body of the victim was abandoned in a field.

- An unidentified individual conducted a grenade attack in a bar located in CaramaII quarter, Kinama commune (northern Bujumbura) in the evening of 13th September 2016. The attack left four wounded, customers who were in the bar in the plot belonging to Mr. Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a human rights defender in exile after an assassination attempt. Among the wounded are the wife and child of an officer of the Burundian army, Colonel Jean Luc Habarugira.

The SOS-Torture Campaign notes that the Burundi grenade attacks in public places had abated in recent months. Police arrested three suspects, but their names have not been disclosed by the police.

Mr. Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, owner of the plot where the attack was carried out, announced on African Radio Public (RPA) in its Humura program that Colonel Habarugira was the targeted person in that attack.

- An armed group attacked a household and decimated an entire family on Munini hill Mugamba commune, Bururi province (south of the coutry) in the afternoon of 14th September 2016. The victims are Dismas Bashirahishize nicknamed 'Bitama', a former military in retirement, his wife and their child. The perpetrators of the attack have not been identified.

3. The suspicious death of a military deputy officer during his detention at the Intelligence Service

The spokesman of the Burundian National Police, Pierre Nkurikiye, announced via his twitter account the death of a Non Commissioned Officer of the army in the National Intelligence premises on 14th September 2016. He is Warrant Officer class I Eddy Claude Nyongera, working as transmission agent within the army headquarter, who committed suicide with a grenade during his interrogation at SNR.

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The tweet page of the National Police Speaker

This statement strongly doubted the version of the national police. SOS-Torture Campaign Burundi approached some members of the security forces who claim that Non Commissioned Officer Nyongera was extensively tortured during the day of September 14th, 2016 following her arrest in the morning of the same day. He had yet been arrested by the military police, Organ authorized to arrests in the army.

These torture practices by the National Intelligence Service agents have already been denounced by other victims of arbitrary arrests. These can constitute arrests new summary execution committed by State agents in the same national offices. SOS-Torture Campaign Burundi requests that a thorough investigation be conducted, starts with giving access to medical specialists of the victim's body for an autopsy. The survey should also steer the presence of the grenade quoted by the spokesman of the Burundian police and how it was used. SOS-Torture Campaign Burundi also recommends that the police officer in charge of record of Nyongera at the time of his death be also questioned.

Warrant Office Eddy Claude Nyongera, died in suspected circumstances at SNR

SOS-Torture Campaign also wishes to point out that the agents of National Intelligent Service has its own communication service and the SNR is directly dependent to the Burundian presidency and not the national police strangely expressed that day. Another fact to underline is that the victim, Non Commissioned Officer Eddy Claude Nyongera, was a Non Commissioned Officer of the Burundian army an institution that also has a communication service which could explain to the public the circumstances of death of its member, but remained silent about the matter.

Another concern is the fact that the Burundian army has judiciary organs (Military Prosecution, War Council, General Prosecution and Military Court) which remains hypothetical as they are the only bodies competent to prosecute members of the defense forces.

SOS Torture Campaign finds a surprising dysfunction and probably the complicity of the military police who delivered Non Commissioned Officer Eddy Claude Nyongera to the National intelligence services instead of put him in front the magistrates of the military prosecution.

Several other arrests Non Commissioned Officer occurred during this week which makes SOS-Torture Campaign Burundi concerned.

The highlighted cases are those of Innocent Girukwigomba working within the judicial police in Musaga zone (south of Bujumbura). Was arrested on September 14th, 2016 but his place of detention is unknown.

Non Commissioned officer Innocent

The concern also relates to the case of the Non Commissioned Officer of the Burundian army Ferdinand Masabo, arrested at his workplace near a military barrack of the natural reserve of Rukoko (northwest). He was first taken to the custody of the military police then moved to an unknown place on 14th September 2016. Witnesses say he was moved by agents of the National Intelligence Service.

Non Commissioned officer Masabo who disappeared

SOS-Torture Campaign has also listed the death of Warrant Officer Class I Albert Kitaburaza. This deputy officer army disappeared since September 15th, 2016. Witnesses said that he was transported by unidentified group of persons while he was recuperating at his home in Bujumbura after a period illness.

Warrant Officer Albert Kitaburaza

Agents of the National Intelligence Service also arrested without warrant Claver Ndayizeye, a noncommissioned officer assigned to the police station of Rohero zone (Bujumbura city). Witnesses say that he is detained in National Intelligence Service Custody. This Non-Commissioned Officer belongs to the former Burundian Armed Forces (FAB), as all the arrested non-commissioned officer or kidnapped during the week.

Agents of the National Intelligence Service also arrested Herménegilde Ngirimana on 15th September 2016. This Non-Commissioned Officer assigned to the Gatumba military camp Mutimbuzi commune, Bujumbura province is also detained to the custody of the NIS. However, no visit authorization is allowed to families and relatives of imprisoned non-commissioned officer.

The National Intelligence service (NIS) also refuses to disclose the place of detention of all these imprisoned Non-Commissioned Officers.

All these arrests among members of the Burundi army specifically target militaries from the former Burundian Armed Forces (EX-FAB ). The Campaign SOS Torture notes that this can cause total destruction of Burundi army, the pillar of the stability of the country and recommends to the Burundian authorities to take necessary measures to stop this harassment which could be expensive to the nation.

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