Bubanza province : Disturbing accounts over murders and kidnappings

In a letter addressed to the public prosecutor in the province of Bubanza, the independent MP  Fabien Banciryanino, has drawn up a list of 21 people killed or gone missing in that province from 2016 until February 2020. This parliamentarian asks the prosecutor to launch investigations into these cases. Iwacu tries to shed light on these disappearances.

“The purpose of this correspondence is to remind the prosecutor of his mission to bring the truth out so that justice can be done. Families could finally mourn,” says Fabien Banciryanino.

This deputy elected in the constituency of Bubanza speaks about cases of extrajudicial executions for political reasons. “These people were abducted or murdered by agents of the Intelligence Service or by the police. Most of them were members of the National Congress for Liberty (CNL)”.

The investigations conducted by MP Banciryanino focused on the communes of Mpanda and Gihanga. “To facilitate their investigations, I mentioned their localities of origin. They can go to check it out.”

Fabien Banciryanino says that in addition to the correspondence he sent to the prosecutor of the Bubanza prosecution on March 24, he had already sent another one to the Minister of Justice. “What is worrying is that from May 2019 until October 2019, eight people were killed or abducted.”

In Mpanda and Gihanga communes, residents still mourn theirs
From Kagwema to Nyamabere via Murengeza localities, Iwacu reporters have investigated certain cases:

Jean Marie Ndihokubwayo, the “informant”

This thirty-year old father of 3 lived at the 2nd avenue on Kagwema hill in Gihanga commune. According to witnesses, he spent the day of May 5, 2019 with two young Imbonerakure (young members of the ruling party CNDD-FDD) Eric and Emmanuel.

“They told him that there is someone who wants to talk with him in the afternoon,” says a friend of the person who is now reported missing.

These two young people gave him a cell phone because he did not have one. “These young people said they were agents of the Intelligence Services, but they were actually crooks”, says the friend of the deceased.

At 3 p.m., they called him. Jean Marie Ndihokubwayo went to the 3rd Avenue commonly known as avenue Kumugirigiri.

“There was a Toyota TI car with tinted windows parked there. There were people inside. They discussed with Jean Marie, Eric and Emmanuel,” said eyewitnesses. The latter would have recognized a certain Pascal, originally from Muzinda and another man named Havyarimana from Bujumbura city.

Iwacu was unable to trace their identity. Jean Marie would have asked these people to get out of the car in order to chat in the open air. “They got out and threw him bluntly into the car and drove off in a rush.”

According to residents of Kagwema locality, the missing person is an informer of the National Intelligence Service (SNR). “Jean Marie worked with the SNR. He was often sent to seek information in the neighboring DRC,” says a relative. “He was also known to be a CNDD-FDD ruling party activist.”

According to the family, it was the last time they saw him. “I lodged a complaint against Eric and Emmanuel with the officer of the judicial police in Gihanga. The latter asked me to go and look for witnesses. I returned at 3 p.m. with them. In the evening, he told us to come back the next day without hearing us. After a few minutes, he released the two young men,” says Evariste Ntibarizi, Jean Marie’s father.

“I went to the Bubanza prosecutor’s office. He ordered that they be arrested again. They were incarcerated in Mpanda. After 3 days, they were released.”

According to sources in Mpanda, it is the commander of Muzinda camp who ordered their release.
The father ended up giving up. “I was afraid to be next.” According to local residents, the two young Imbonerakure enjoy life at the place called Kumugirigiri. The family asks the justice to do their work to find out the circumstances of the disappearance of Jean Marie.

Jean Claude Bucumi alias “Ecomoge”, the fisherman

On February 23, 2020, several men besieged, around 7:30 p.m., the home of Jean Claude Bucumi aka Ecomoge. “They were dressed in black. They started by asking where Ecomoge was. He was not at home,” said the neighbors.

They claim to have recognized a soldier by the name of Nsabimana from the Kagwema military position and the young Imbonerakure, namely “Master”, Dieudonne and Adrien. Iwacu was unable to reach these people. “Since he was a fisherman, they told his wife to call him telling him that people were looking for fish. Her husband’s phone was off. They went to a neighbor of Ecomoge.”

After ten minutes, the inhabitants heard a man calling for help: “Nimuntabare ndi Bucumi Ecomoge! (Help me, I’m Bucumi Ecomoge!).

The victim’s wife claims to have heard her husband’s cries too. “I told my children that we have to run to their father to save him. We started to cry out for help. We heard his cries from the side of the mosque near the Bujumbura-Cibitoke road (RN5). We continued to shout as we approached him. At some point, his voice became inaudible. We heard a car start without turning on the headlights. I kept screaming. My neighbors helped me to call for help,” she said, in tears.

“The next day, the police came to the house and I explained what happened. Since then, nothing has been done.” Ecomoge’s wife reports that the family has carried out searches in all the prisons but could not find him.

This 28-years-old member of the opposition National Congress for Liberty (CNL) had two children. His wife fears for his life and that of his children.
“I ask that they leave me in peace. May they stop threatening me.” According to information gathered in Kagwema, Jean Claude Bucumi was accused of having helped combatants from the DRC to cross the Rusizi River.

The demobilized Edmond Ndayishimiye

Demobilized from the FNL rebel movement with the rank of Major, Edmond Ndayishimiye was abducted on May 15, 2019. He is from Murengeza locality in Mpanda commune.
“He left home around 11 a.m. He was going to the rice fields in the valley of Nyamabere hill. Around 2:00 p.m., people came to tell us that he had just been kidnapped,” says a family member.

According to residents of Nyamabere who were in the fields that day, Edmond Ndayishimiye was abducted by people in three cars. “There were two cars of “Probox” model and a “ Hilux ”type van . ” Men in civilian uniform threatened him with guns and forced him to enter one of these cars.”

This father of two children, aged 28, has gone missing since that day. “We searched in all the dungeons but couldn’t find him. We ended up giving up. We would like the prosecutor’s office to conduct investigations for the truth to be known.” The family believes that political motives would be behind his abduction because he was a militant of CNL party.

André Ngendakumana, the rice farmer

André Ngendakumana was demobilized from the former FNL rebel movement. He lived in the village of Murengeza. Two weeks before his disappearance, until then a CNL activist, Ngendakumana “had made amends” to the ruling party CNDD-FDD and had become a member.

“Seen as a mobilizer within our party, he had been terrorized and forced to join the CNDD-FDD party,” said one of his former comrades.

This thirty-year-old rice farmer was contacted on May 15, 2019 by a young woman who wanted to show him a land for sale via brokers. When they arrived at the meeting place with the brokers, André Ngendakumana and the young woman saw a white Hilux car stop at their side. Men got out, pointed their weapons at them and forced them into the vehicle. In the meantime, brokers who had just arrived on the scene ran away after seeing the scene.

The car drove off and headed for the 9th avenue at the place commonly known as ”Chez Sepa ”. There, the Hilux was quickly joined by “a small red car” and a Prado-type Jeep with tinted windows. André Ngendakumana was taken in this second vehicle which took the road leading to Bujumbura. The young woman was transported in “the little red car “. Mr Ngendakumana’s old comrade says that young woman played the role of ‘facilitator’ with the abductors.

“She ended up being arrested and jailed in Mpanda communal cell. Some influential people afterwards came to the prison and helped her get released,” said the former comrade to André Ngendakumana.

He also says that the family of the disappeared spent at least BIF 600,000 trying to find theirs. They accuse the local authorities of having done nothing to help the family of Mr. Ngendakumana. “No comfort speech was made by our leaders to ease the family’s concerns!”
André’s friend and fellow war companion demands that the truth be revealed in this affair. “We would like to be told if our loved one is dead or alive. If he is alive, may his whereabouts be known. If he is deceased, may we be informed so that we can mourn for him.”
André Ngendakumana was married and father of three children.

Pascal Sibomana, alias “Gakwavu”, the security guard

The thirty-five-year-old “Gakwavu” lived in Nyamabere sector. According to OP, a relative contacted by Iwacu, he left his home on November 1, 2018, to go to his workplace. “He usually left at 3 a.m. because he worked as a security guard on a barrier. » Every day, Pascal Sibomana returned to his home at 7 p.m. after his service hours. Since that day, he could not return. His family quickly began searching for him, helped by the head of Nyamabere sector but in vain.

“We call her phone number every day. It rings, someone else picks up, but we never hear his voice,” says O. P.

Some time before, the former demobilized man “had made amends” with CNDD-FDD ruling party. “I have the conviction that he was harassed to join the party in power. Despite this, his fellow party members probably never trusted him and eventually got rid of him!” Pascal Sibomana was married and father of five children.

Hyppolite Ndayisenga , the martyr of Busongo

Hyppolite Ndayisenga was from village 2 in Buramata sector. On July 11, 2019, he was in Bujumbura. He lived in Kinama Zone in Ruyigi district. Early that morning, he was apprehended at home by the leader of the CNDD-FDD party and the leader of the Imbonerakure in Buramata. Handcuffed, he was then swaddled in a large bag and taken to Busongo hill. There, along with Rénovat Bigirimana, he was beaten to death in the presence of a crowd of local residents.

“They wanted to bury them in the same pit, but the communal administrator, Léopold Ndayisaba, contacted by one of the attackers by telephone, ordered that the two men be buried separately,” says someone who witnessed the scene. This one reveals to us that Hippolyte was a longtime militant of CNL party. Aged thirty-four, the missing man was married and the father of a seven-year-old child. As a rice farmer, he had just bought cultivable land from one of his brothers.

Jean-Baptiste Ndagijimana , alias “Minani”, the mason gone too early

“Minani” was a builder in Nyamabere and an activist of CNL party. According to one of his relatives, the victim was abducted in a car at the site where he worked. It was on July 27, 2019. Jean-Baptiste Ndagijimana was aged between 32 and 35 years old. He was married and father of a child.


Jean-Claude Nsengiyumva: “We are aware!”

The public prosecutor in Bubanza province, Jean-Claude Nsengiyumva, indicates that he has received the correspondence which the deputy Fabien Banciryanino addressed to him. However, he says that as soon as the magistrate in charge of this case is available, the prosecution will call Fabien Banciryanino for further clarification.

Floribert Biyereke: “Slanders!”

Army spokesman Colonel Floribert Biyereke says the charges against Camp Muzinda commander are far-fetched. “The commander of a military camp does not have the power to release people detained at the provincial police station. This case is the sole responsibility of the police, not the army! “He adds that the people who put forward such accusations “have no other purpose than to smear members of the army and prevent, for example, that they benefit from army missions abroad”.

Isaiah Ndayizeye: “No case of disappearance in Gihanga”

The president of CNDD-FDD party in Gihanga commune, affirms that the disappearances reported in his commune and imputed to some of the Imbonerakure, were invented. “Everything is fine!” There have never been cases of disappearances!”

Léopold Ndayisaba: “I am not a police officer”

Asked about his alleged role in the assassination of Hyppolite Ndayisenga, Léopold Ndayisenga, administrator of Gihanga commune, said. “I am not a police officer to order executions!” He added that if he could know the identity of “his accuser,” he would file a complaint against them.

Translated into English by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana