SOS-TORTURE / BURUNDI REPORT NO. 51 PUBLISHED ON 3rd DECEMBER 2016
This SOS-Torture report covers the period ranging from 26th November to 3th December 2016 and concerns serious violations of human rights in Burundi during this week.
At least forty-seven (47) persons have been arrested during the week. Three of them are officers of the Burundian army arrested by the military police and incarcerated in at National Intelligence Service accused of attacking theinternal security of the state and attempted murder according to the spokesman of the police . Among these arbitrary arrests, five young men arrested in Musaga were reported missing because no one knows their place of detention. .
SOS-Torture Burundi also reports the case of a forced disappearance of a student from the Faculty of Medicine at University Ngozi. Kidnapped in the north of the capital, relatives and family are still without news of him.
At least three persons were killed, including one, a police agent, during an attack targettinga close relative and real friend of the Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. Among the assassinations listed includes also a civilian killed in Ngozi.
1. Arbitrary arrest, kidnappings and forced disappearances continue
- Unidentified individuals kidnapped Félicien Irambona on November 25th, 2016 at Kamenge (north of Bujumbura) near the roundabout giving access to the town entrance on the RN1 national road N01. The kidnapped victim is a 5th year medical student at University of Ngozi(north of the country),in training at the Kamenge Military Hospital.
The victim's relatives and family have no news of the student. The police have not yet report anything about the circumstances surrounding Mr. Irambona's disappearance.
The student Félicien Irambona, victim of kidnapping
- Police agent arrested Jean Claude Arakaza on Rubanga Hill, Matana commune, Bururi province, on 27th November 2016. He is a student and accused by the police of having organized an illegal meeting in Rubanga High School.
SOS-Torture Burundi notes that the charges against the young man are not such as to deprive liberty according to the Burundian law. The police of Matana which detained him has indicated that it conducted investigations to know the reasons of its presence In the locality, which also demonstrates arbitrary arrest because not onlythe Burundian constitution does not provide restrictions on the free movement of citizens throughout the national territory but also no evidence of any offense, Has been presented.
Student Jean Claude Arakaza, arrestedin Matana
- Police agents arrested Shabani Butoyi and Shabani Bukuru in Bwiza zone (center of Bujumbura) on 27th November 2016. The two men are twin brothers. Witnesses report that the arrest was carried out by the police of the Special Unit for the Protection of Institutions API, who were were traveling in a civilian vehicle. They were then sent to the custody of the national intelligence service in Bujumbura.
The reasons for their detention were not communicated by the SNR.
Shabani Butoyi, one of the twin brothers arrested API police agents
- Agents of the National Intelligence Service arrested Nolasque Kezimana Kinama Zone (north of Bujumbura) on 27th November 2016. He is a sixth-year medical student at University of Ngozi (in the north of the country), who was Carrying out an internship at Kamenge military hospital, as his comrade Felicien Irambona who had disappeared two days earlier.
- Military arrested five young civilian men in Musaga Zone (southern Bujumbura) on 28th November 2016 in the evening. No ground for arrest was given.
SOS-Torture Burundi is concerned about the safety of these young men whose places of detention have also not been made public. The army must communicate where they are incarcerated and the reason for their arrest.
- Police agents arrested at least 28 persons in the Kajaga quarter and Gatumba, Mutimbuzi commune, Bujumbura province, the day after attempted assassination of Willy Nyamitwe, the Burundian's President chief communications adviser (see point 2 of .this report). Relatives say that these persons were arrested for lack of household records, a document that is governed by any law in Burundi but is required in the course of the crisis.
The military police has carried out several arrests of Burundian military officers in service during the week. Captain Célestin Iranyibutse (arrested on 29th November), Colonel Nestor Bahati (arrested on 30th November 2016) and Colonel Jean Baptiste Miruho nicknamed 'Miros' (arrested on 1st December 2016).
Relatives and families are concerned about these arrests, the motives of the arrests are not known to date. The three officers are elders of the armed movements before their integration into the Burundian army. They are detained at the National Intelligence.
Colonel Miruho (left) and Colonel Bahati (right) in detention
- The Police and National Intelligence Service agents arrested Yves Emmanuel Nemeye in Kanyami quarter, commune and Ngozi province (north of the country) on 1st December 2016. He is a Rwandan citizen whose place of detention has not been communicated.
SOS-Torture Burundi wishes to highlight the very tense relations between Burundi and Rwanda since the beginning of the crisis and the numerous arbitrary attacks and arrests that Rwandan nationals are victims.
- Police agents conducted a roundup in Musaga Zone (southern Bujumbura) on 1st December 2016. A hundred persons were gathered and detained for hours to be checked. Witnesses report that six young men were subsequently arrested and sent to the Musaga Zone cell.
SOS-Torture Burundi notes that these incessant controls constitute harassment of the inhabitants of Musaga. During operations, police agents required three documents for each person: the identity card (the only document recognized by law), the housekeeping book (a document increasingly required during the crisis and governed by any law) as well as the service badge (card required for domestic workers in particular). All these documents constitute in the long run a restriction of the freedom of movement.
- Another raid was carried out in Mutakura quarter on 8th and 9th avenues (north of Bujumbura). The police also required the household notebooks for each person.
2. Assassinations, summary executions and armed attacks
- Police agents shot at a crowd trying to arrest a man wanted by the police in village V in Gihanga commune, Bubanza province (western part of the country) on 24th November 2016. The man is Jean Bosco Hakizimana, a local leader of the Imbonerakure militiamen of the ruling party CNDD-FDD , who is accused of torturing a young student to deathlast week (see SOS-Torture Burundi Report No.50: http/
Police agentsshot and wounded two persons (a mother and a child) while trying to prevent the arrest of the man, confirming the complicity of the police agents with the Imbonerakure militiamen who have been committing serious human rights violations since then the beginning of the crisis. SOS-Torture Burundi deplores this attitude which allowed the alleged killers to escape, despite a warrant for his arrest.
- A student was killed by other students in the premises of the University of Burundi in Bujumbura on 25th November 2016 during the night. The victim is Enock Gapero who was suspected of attempted robbery in one of the university's dormitories where he was attempting to force entry.
SOS-Torture Burundi notes an excessive use of violence instead of resorting to law enforcement to arrest potential perpetrators. However, police agents are present permanently in the premises of the university but have not been able to help to save the life of the student.
The body of Mr. Ignace Havyarimana was found on November 27th, 2016 on Camugani hill, commune and province Ngozi (north of the country). The victim was murdered and his body carried several traces of head injuries. The police have not yet determined the circumstances of this assassination. Mr. Havyarimana was a teacher at the Mureke Seminary in Ngozi.
The body of M. Havyarimana at its dicovery
An armed group attempted to assassinate Burundian President Chief Adviser Willy Nyamitwe at his home in Kajaga quarter, Mutimbuzi commune, Bujumbura province (west of Bujumbura) on the evening of 28th November 2016. One of the police guards of Mr. Nyamitwe, Elie Ntungwanayo was killed in the attack and another was wounded, as well as the President's Advisor wounded on the arm
The police immediately arrested soldiers in the day after the attack, accusing Rwanda of having ordered it. Master Corporal Félix Nizigiyimana was arrested at his home in the same quarter of Kajaga on November 29th, 2016. At this time, the police have not yet demonstrated his connection to the attack. The police also mentioned that Colonel Dieudonné Dushimagize, nicknamed 'Gangi', arrested since 18 November 2016 in the military headquarters, would be involved in a previous attempt to assassinate President's chief advisor Willy Nyamitwe (see Report SOS-Torture Burundi N°50: http://sostortureburundi.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SOS-Torture-Burundi-nume%CC%81ro-50.pdf).There too, no tangible proof Has been made to demonstrate his involvement. Colonel Dushimagize was still detained during Nyamitwe's attack.
Master caporal Nizigiyimana (left), arrested after attempt against President’s chief advisor Nyamitwe and Colonel Dushimagize (right) arrested on 18th November
SOS-Torture Burundi condemns such targeted attacks and calls for the investigative procedures to be respected, inter alia that military courts take charge of the case in accordance with military criminal procedure. The alleged perpetrators must have access to the defenses. During the crisis, several persons were accused of offenses without tangible evidences from the police or the SNR and this attack on a Burundian president relative fears waves of arrests without a direct link to the case.