Jean Bigirimana

A warm tribute to Jean Bigirimana

On the fourth day of the week dedicated to Jean, Iwacu organized a ceremony closing the mourning week that has begun since last Monday, August 22, marking a month after the disappearance of our colleague.

In the newsroom, the Iwacu personnel getting ready for the ceremonies to pay tribute to Jean

In the newsroom, the Iwacu personnel getting ready for the ceremonies to pay tribute to Jean

Acquisition of identical T-shirts, the putting in place of a large photographic portrait, calls from other journalists inquiring about the beginning of the ceremonies… Iwacu Press Group had a very busy morning, Thursday August 25. They organised ceremonies in tribute to Jean Bigirimana. Journalists from different media arrived around 10 am to cover the ceremonies.

A giant portrait of Jean was revealed in the compound of Iwacu Press Group. According to the chief editor, the picture means: “Jean remains among his colleagues, no one has the right to forget him.”

10h30: The entire Iwacu staff devoted one hour to paying homage to our dear colleague. They were in black T-Shirts with an effigy of Jean on which one could read: “In memory of Jean Bigirimana who disappeared on July 22, we will not forget you.”

In front of our colleague’s portrait, the chief editor, Léandre Sikuyavuga, surrounded by all the staff standing hand in hand, read the moving speech by the Iwacu Managing Director, Antoine Kaburahe.


“Jean, we promise you, they will not win!”

From Belgium, Antoine Kaburahe, sent a poignant message. The main lines

In front Jean’s big picture, the chief editor reading the message sent by Antoine Kaburahe, the Iwacu Publications Manager.

In front Jean’s big picture, the chief editor reading the message sent by Antoine Kaburahe, the Iwacu Publications Manager.

As if convinced of his existence, two phrases: “Dear Jean, “Hi, Jean” directly open and close this letter addressed to Jean.

Despite stagnant investigations and permanent questions without answers, Antoine Kaburahe seems to believe in the existence of Jean.

“We paid visit to your family; your children are doing well. Don Douglas was not there, he had gone to play football. Timmy is also doing well and Gode tries to hold on.” These are the words of the Iwacu Publications Manager.

In his message, Antoine Kaburahe informed Jean of the journeys that his colleagues had undertaken when searching for their missing colleague. “We climbed up the hills and down the valleys of Muramvya Province. We paced up and down the foothills of the Kibira and walked along the Mubarazi river. And that is where we stumbled upon those two tortured bodies…” These lines will finally make some colleagues burst into tears.

Questions, always questions…

Antoine Kaburahe does not understand the disappearance and always asks his missing colleague: “Jean, what did you do to disappear like this? What did you do, for them not to give you the opportunity to explain yourself…? In fact, and this is terrible, you were blamed for existing…”

After few words of acknowledgement to the people who supported Iwacu Press Group, the Publications Manager always hesitates between disappearance and death: “Our dear Jean, we are so helpless against those who have made others’ death their specialty… And you know, one day justice will prevail.”

To the Iwacu colleagues who are still on the ground, Antoine Kaburahe exhorts them to go ahead: “We don’t have time to hate, and we will continue our work. If we stop, they will have won!”


Iwacu has already taken the case to court

A giant portrait of Jean on the premises of Iwacu Press Group to pay tribute to our disappeared colleague.

A giant portrait of Jean on the premises of Iwacu Press Group to pay tribute to our disappeared colleague.

The chief editor says that the Iwacu Press Group administration is going to refer the case to the court by filing a complaint against X. “We do not know who kidnapped him,” he says, explaining the complaint against X.

He says that Jean’s colleagues hope that he is still alive, but that their hope will eventually fade away as time goes by. “We want the authorized bodies to be aware of the disappearance of our dear colleague and hear our appeal for the truth to be known.”

In his turn, Leandre Sikuyavuga addressed his colleagues: “Stay courageous. Be just professionals by complying with journalistic ethics and deontology.”

He went on:” Perhaps those who kidnapped him wanted to bury the profession of journalism. Take this opportunity to make the Burundian press stronger than ever.”

We recall that, since Monday, 22 July, Iwacu has been in a grieving week to honor Jean; hence, the total blackout on its site. Note that the newspaper edition published this Friday, 26th August is devoted exclusively to Jean Bigirimana and will be distributed to readers for free.

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