Security: Attacks to political gaits

Members of the civil society and opposition parties denounced the killings and other intimidations. A new phenomenon of targeting the wives of dignitaries, Iwacu reviews the most recent cases. By Rénovat Ndabashinze and Christian Bigirimana translated by Diane Uwimana

On Sunday, 15 March, Annonciate Haberisoni, wife of Agathon Rwasa, the historic leader of the FNL, miraculously escaped death. When she was visiting a ladies hairdresser called “Chez 21 ” in the Asian quarter, in Bujumbura , close to the Gallery ” Coeur d’ Afrique” , in front of ” Petit Suisse” , a man armed with a pistol, entered the premises . It was around 4: 30 p. m. He shot two bullets aimed at her but, miraculously, the hairdresser pushed Rwasa’s wife who fell to the floor. She was slightly touched at head level. Witnesses on site say that after the assault, the assailant jumped into a car of “Prado type”, with tinted windows, under cover of police officers who were in the vicinity.

Agathon Rwasa’s wife on the Bumerec hospital bed@iwacu

Agathon Rwasa’s wife on the Bumerec hospital bed@iwacu

All those who attended the scene attest to the complicity of the police. Because, says one of them, “if these police officers had intended to arrest the criminal, he would not have been able to escape.”Some youths tried to run after him but the police fired into the air. “We panicked,” testified one young person. The wife of Rwasa was then directly transported to Bujumbura Bumerec Hospital, where her husband told the press that his wife’s life was not in danger.

In the evening, many pro- Rwasa young people arrived at the hospital. Some say it was to ensure the safety of the building so that the murderer couldn’t enter and try to finish his deed. With the exception of senior officers, no other person was allowed to enter with a weapon.

On site, around 6:30p.m, politicians like Honourable Charles Nditije, President of UPRONA, not recognized by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Bernard Busokoza, former first deputy-president, Gabriel Rufyiri, President Olucome (association of fighting corruption and economic embezzlement) also arrived at the hospital.

Another woman targeted

On Saturday, 28 February 2015, at 7:00 p.m, honourable Spès Niyonkuru, wife of General Godefroid Niyombare, was almost shot in Bujumbura city. This happened after the removal of her husband as the head of the National Intelligence Service (SNR).
According to her description of the facts, Mrs Niyonkuru said she saw two vehicles that followed her: a Jeep and a Toyota “TI model”. After one of these cars overtook her and drove in front of her car, her instincts told her to take refuge in a shop in the city centre.


A pro Rwasa trader assassinated

In the morning on Tuesday 17 March, Alphonse Mpawenimana, a trader, was shot by Elhud Ndagijimana, a lieutenant in the army, in Carama quarter. His family and relatives talk about a political assassination. The spokesman of the army calls for an investigation.

The incident occurred at around 4 a.m, according to Charlotte Uwimana, the wife of the victim. She and her husband were waiting for their bus in front of the house of the military: “This bus often arrives at around 4:20a.m and we waited for it quietly. My husband sat on a foundation near a kiosk next to the fence of the house of Lieutenant Elhud Ndagijimana. »

Alphonse Mpawenimana , 35, shot dead by a lieutenant. He had four children.@iwacu

Alphonse Mpawenimana , 35, shot dead by a lieutenant. He had four children.@iwacu

The soldier, says the young widow, was in underwear and T-shirt, with a Kalashnikov gun, as he fired two shots at the genital organ of her husband, who fell to the ground: “My husband just asked him why he shot him, since they are neighbours, and did not say another word. The other said that he had eliminated an enemy. »

Charlotte Uwimana remembers that she screamed and called for help: “When the neighbours arrived, the soldier told them that he had believed we were bandits.” This is impossible according to Charlotte Uwimana. According to the victim’s wife, Lieutenant Elhud Ndagijimana could not have been ignorant of the fact that the bus picked them up at that same place every day.

Charlotte Uwimana: “This soldier could not have been ignorant of the fact that the bus picked us up at the same place every day. »@iwacu

Charlotte Uwimana: “This soldier could not have been ignorant of the fact that the bus picked us up at the same place every day. »@iwacu

Worse, after his crime, Elhud Ndagijimana told those present to find a vehicle to bring the victim to the hospital, “If you do not hurry, he will be emptied of all his blood,” he said. The bus arrived ten minutes later and transported the victim to Roi Khaled Hospital. The victim died at the place.

“He was a great political mobilizer”

Very upset, people started throwing stones at the house of Elhud Ndagijimana who had gone inside the house with his family. An army of heavily armed police and military arrived at the scene at around 8 am and evacuated the soldier, his wife, his children and his housekeeper. The house is currently guarded by eight police officers.

To neighbours of the victim, there is no doubt that Alphonse Mpawenimana died because of his political affiliation. “He was a member of the FNL –he was pro Rwasa and a great political mobilizer in Kinama commune,” said one of his friends, who wishes to be anonymous. The same source indicates that the lieutenant had already committed a similar crime in Kanyosha Commune.

This opinion is shared by Agathon Rwasa, historic leader of FNL. According to him, the victim has been member of the FNL since the time they were fighting in the bush: “He continued his political struggle by working within the Kinama FNL cell as a political mobilizer. »

He affirms that this assassination fits into the macabre plan to kill all the political leaders from the opposition and civil society: “The plan exists and started with the distribution of weapons among Imbonerakure-the ruling party youth wing. We saw this with the attack in Cibitoke where youth were armed.” At the moment, he insists, these Imbonerakure are patrolling armed, in full view of everyone, at Maramvya in Mutimbuzi Commune.

“Keep calm and do not pass judgment”

He feels the situation is serious and Pierre Nkurunziza must show that he is really the president by giving clear orders that ensure security for everyone. Otherwise, warns Rwasa, the President will have to answer to the International court if bad things happen in Burundi, “He cannot say he did not know. »
Colonel Gaspard Baratuza, spokesperson of the National Defence Force, invites everyone to remain calm and not rush to make judgments. According to him, the lieutenant had been burglarized twice, which may suggest that he took the victim for a thief.
To those who say that the lieutenant is a repeat offender and that he committed such a crime in Kanyosha, the spokesman of the Army speaks of evil talk, “He never lived in Kanyosha. He lived in north Mutanga then in Carama quarter. »

Iwacu contacted the police spokesman to know the result of this case but in vain. However, police sources have told us, under anonymous name, that the two parties will be heard to decide whether the military will be charged or not.