60 arbitrarily arrested within one week, according to political alliance

The parliamentary group of the political alliance Amizero y’Abarundi, (Hope of Burundians) announced on 29 March that 60 people were arbitrarily arrested between 20 and 26 March. It accuses the National Intelligence Service (SNR) and police officers of being responsible for these violations of human rights.

Pierre Celestin Ndikumana , the chairman of parliamentary group of ‘Mizero y'abarundi allianceFNL”More than 60 people were arbitrarily arrested from 20 to 26 March by the National Intelligence Service and police officers, in complicity with some members of the youth wing of the ruling party CNDD-FDD, commonly called Imbonerakure,” said Pierre Celestin Ndikumana, the chairman of parliamentary group of Amizero y’Abarundi.

He accuses young people affiliated with the ruling party of pretending to be police officers. Ndikumana said that state agents arrest and torture members of Amizero y’Abarundi alliance. Ndikumana said that the judicial authorities collaborate in the arrests.

“We deplore the manipulation of Burundian justice with arbitrary imprisonments by inventing false information in order to arrest members of our coalition,” says Ndikumana.

The Amizero y’Abarundi alliance was formed in November 2014 by former National Forces of Liberation (FNL) leader Agathon Rwasa and former Union for National Progress (UPRONA) head Charles Nditije after they were expelled from their parties by the government. In the June 2015 parliamentary elections it received 11% of the vote, winning 21 of the 100 elected seats in the Burundi National Assembly.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs, Therence Ntahiraja, denies the allegations made by the Amizero y’Abarundi alliance. He says that troublemakers are not arrested because of their political affiliation.

“When security forces arrest troublemakers, they bring them to trial and sentence them in accordance with the law.

It’s surprising that people talk about harassment whenever the justice system is prosecuting people who are pro-Rwasa,” says Ntahiraja.

Nancy-Ninette Mutoni, communications manager at the CNDD-FDD, refutes the allegations against the Imbonerakure. She says that the CNDD-FDD lives in harmony with other political parties.

“The youth of the presidential party is the victim of a long campaign of slander launched against them says Mutoni.

For Armel Niyongere, human rights defender, a police force is needed to protect the Burundian population. He says Amizero Y’Abarundi’s announcement confirms reports carried out by various human rights organizations and United Nations on Burundi.
“It shows that the human rights situation is becoming more and more serious. Unfortunately, the Burundi justice system is also manipulated into repressing opponents of the current regime,” Niyongere says.

A collective of lawyers who represent the civil parties and victims of alleged human violations announced on 28 March that it has been granted 124 new warrants to bring cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to seek justice for the victims of Burundi’s security crackdown.