According to the Chairman of APRODH, during a confrontation between the Burundian army and armed rebels which took place inCibitoke Province between 30 December 2014 and 4 January 2015, 95 assailants were killed, 37 cases of which qualified as extra-judicial killings.–By Lorraine Josiane Manishatse
95 assailants, 2 Burundian soldiers and 2 civilians – this is the number of persons killed during the fighting between the Burundian army and armed rebels in Cibitoke Province which lasted for five days.
According to the spokesman of the Burundi National Army, Col Gaspard Baratuza, non-identified rebels arrived from the DR Congo at Mutarure with the objective of reaching the Kibira National Park in order to organize regular attacks across Burundi. “Their main objective is to disturb the forthcoming presidential elections, planned for May 2015”says Col Gaspard Baratuza during a press conference held on Monday 5 January 2015 at Cibitoke.
The population of Cibitoke met at the combat site, stated that soldiers, in collaboration with youth league “Imbonerakure”, members of the governing party CNDD-FDD and ex-combatants had killed some of the rebel combatants captured. “I saw soldiers and Imbonerakure killing six of the captured rebels.”says MN, a habitant of Cibitoke.
This testimony is affirmed by JH, a soldier also met at Cibitoke. He stated that many rebels who were caught were killed.
According to the report made by the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH), 37 cases of extrajudicial killing are observed. “17 assailants were beheaded in the Buhayira area and 20 persons were shot at point-blank range in Murwi commune”states Pierre ClaverMbonimpa, APRODH Chairperson.
Mbonimpa provides an example of the case of a person who was captured by some people from the Buhayira area and given to two policemen.”There was even a priest who asks to protect the prisoner. After half an hour, while we thought that he was detained at the Brigade police in Cibitoke, I was informed that the assailant had been killed”
The violation of the war law
LéonceNgendakumana, Chairperson of ADC Ikibiri, the coalition of opposition political parties states that ADC Ikibiri is concerned about cases of extra judicial killing concerning rebels captured during the fight at Cibitoke. “Burundi risks being accused of crimes against humanity”he adds.
Mbonimpapoints out that Burundi has been questioned repeatedly about cases of extra-judicial killing committed in the country by the United Nations Security Council.