Security

Iwacu asks for protection for endangered family of missing journalist Jean Birigirimana

On the 11th month of the disappearance of former Iwacu journalist Jean Bigirimana, his employer calls on the government to protect the journalist’s threatened family.

Photography of Jean Bigirimana hung on the wall of Iwacu building: “In memory of Jean Bigirimana who disappeared on 22 July 2016. We will never forget you.”

Photography of Jean Bigirimana hung on the wall of Iwacu building: “In memory of Jean Bigirimana who disappeared on 22 July 2016. We will never forget you.”

Iwacu calls on the government to guarantee the security for its missing journalist’s family that says it’s in danger because of death threats it has received.

The last death threat was issued on Wednesday, just one day before the end of the 11th month after the journalist disappeared on July 22, 2016.

“We were shocked and saddened to hear about the death threats, because that family has done nothing wrong just as Jean Bigirimana”, says Antoine Kaburahe, the Manager of Iwacu Press Group on this Thursday.

“We ask the government to protect the family of Jean Bigirimana and his children and make sure no harm is done to them”, he says.

“It’s sad that in addition to having lost its father so early, the family is now facing threats. It’s really sad”, says the exiled manager of Iwacu.

“It was still a young family of young parents who had just started life and [two] young children”, says Kaburahe.
When Bigirimana disappeared last year, he was around 37. He left his wife Godeberthe Hakizimana who was then 28 and two young boys, Don Douglass, 8, and Timmy Terry, 3.

Hakizimana desperately appealed to kidnappers to release her husband, but in vain. “Think about our children and our family, and please release him for us. God bless you”, she said six days after his disappearance.

But the appeal was never answered. She never saw him again. Instead, yesterday, she received threat that she will “join him soon where he is ‘imprisoned’”.

Extensive investigations by Iwacu did not reveal anything about his whereabouts. “We want to know the truth- whatever it is- about his disappearance”, says Kaburahe. “Certainly, there are people who know the truth”.

He says knowing the truth will help ease the pain of his family and those who desperately long for any news about the journalist.

The police said yesterday it would guarantee the family’s security if the threats were proved to be real.

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