Bujumbura Province : Confrontations in Maramvya

There have been reports of several arrests and seriously injured members of the opposition party CNL after scuffles with the youth of the ruling party Imbonerakure. The latter are accused of having carried out attacks on the homes of activists of the National Congress for Liberty (CNL) on Saturday, April 4 with the complicity of the administration.

In Buterere neighborhood, a CNL party office was destroyed.

The CNL party had planned, last Saturday, April 4, to open 7 offices in Buterere neighborhood. According to CNL activists, a group of Imbonerakure accompanied by Dieudonné Ntamatungiro, head of Maramvya area, turned up to prevent the opening of one of the offices. “We were authorized to inaugurate it. The municipal administrator and the zone chief had authorized this activity. But the neighborhood chief opposed that,” said one of the CNL officials in Maramvya area. The Imbonerakure (youth of the ruling party CNDD-FDD) from Maramvya wanted to plant a flag of CNDD-FDD party at the office of CNL party. “We couldn’t tolerate this. We tore apart the flag of that party. ”

Scuffles then broke out between the Imbonerakure and the Inyankamugayo. CNL officials from Bujumbura city arrived at this time for the opening of the office. The fight stopped. The office had not been inaugurated. “Before leaving, CNL party officials agreed with the neighborhood chief to stop the bickering.”

At around 2 p.m., a group of Imbonerakure led by a certain Léon Ndabarushimana alias Kanefu invaded the CNL office. The doors of the house were removed. The chairs and the photo of the president of CNL party Agathon Rwasa were taken away. “The three Inyankamugayo who were guarding it got beaten severely and were later on hospitalized.”
Summons were issued, but no Imbonerakure appeared before the Judicial Police Officer (OPJ).

The escalation

During the night, the going got tough. “The Imbonerakure started to throw stones at the houses of CNL activists”. According to sources in Maramvya, Léon Ndabarushimana beat up a CNL activist by the name of Macepe.

“It was around 9p.m. The latter was drawing water from a drinking fountain. They fought and Léon was injured during the battle. Macepe then fled”.

Léon Ndabarushimana then called on the other Imbonerakure. “They went to the home of Macepe on the 15th street in Maramvya neighborhood. They beat up the young man’s father and mother. ”

Today, the health of Emile Karenzo, Macepe’s father is in a critical condition. “Even in the hospital, he is guarded by a police officer. They told him that he will be released when his son goes to court. ” Later, they attacked the home of Jean-François Ntawuyankira, one of the CNL officials in Maramvya area. The latter was seriously injured.

All-out arrests

On Monday, CNL activists went to visit their relatives who are hospitalized in the health center located in Maramvya area. “The zone chief called them for a so-called pacification meeting in his office. Surprisingly, they were arrested on the spot”. Elie Nahayo, Daniel Ndayiziga, Jean-Bosco Kubwayo, Fulgence Habarugira, Célestin Nzeyimana and Françoise Kankundiye, all CNL activists, are incarcerated in the dungeon of the Gatumba Brigade. “Most of those arrested people are on the electoral roll. It is a way of intimidating us so that we give in. They are very wrong”.

The administration accused of complicity

“We are tired of the behavior of the Imbonerakure in Maramvya.” The Inyankamugayo demand that their security be ensured. “The Imbonerakure conduct night patrols with clubs and machetes. Our activists don’t sleep anymore during the night,” reveals one of the CNL officials. They accuse the administration of working in collusion with the young activists of the ruling party CNDD-FDD. “What is frustrating is that the administrative authorities do nothing while they witness all these abuses. They assisted the scene when the Imbonerakure beat Jean-François Ntawuyankira”.
CNL activists denounce a policy of double standards. “Why are only the Inyankamugayo arrested? The Maramvya authorities must change their ways if they want the elections to be held in complete safety.”

Elysée Nindorera, representative of CNDD-FDD party in Mutimbuzi commune, refutes all these accusations.”Nothing is true in everything they say.”

Several Inyankamugayo were beaten by the Imbonerakure.

Contacted, Gaston Singora, Maramvya zone chief, said he was aware of these altercations between the activists of CNDD-FDD and CNL party. “It could be that the CNL activists were disturbed during the inauguration of their office.”
According to the zone chief, the young people of CNL party returned with anger. “In the evening, they attacked a member of CNDD-FDD party called Léon Ndabarushimana. They injured him on the head and jaw. It is I who gave money for health care. The Imbonerakure were angry, too. They took revenge.”

Gaston Singora admits that 2 were injured on the side of CNL party and one on the side of the Imbonerakure. Regarding the arrests, this administrative official explains: “I had planned a meeting to bring the two conflicting parties together. I did not know that the municipal police commissioner was carrying out investigations. He arrested them. I could not disrupt the law enforcement work. It would have been insolent. I let the justice do its work”. The zone chief indicates that he remains in the perspective of reconciliation. “I’m optimistic. Today is not the time to tear each other apart. After the elections, life goes on. These young people must collaborate and they must know that they are all natives of Maramvya”.

Thierry Ndayishimiye, secretary of CNL party in Bujumbura province, asks the leaders of the ruling party to bring to order the young Imbonerakure. “They are the ones who have the power to do it. They must teach them the principles of political tolerance.” He also urges the police to avoid being manipulated by politicians.

Cibitoke Province : Hostile climate between CNDD-FDD and CNL parties

Some CNL party activists in Buganda commune spend the night outside fearing the police and the Imbonerakure. The latter are accused of disturbing public order after preventing the Imbonerakure from destroying their political office in Munyu locality. 

The dungeon of Buganda commune where 11 CNL activists were detained before being transferred to Cibitoke

In Cunyu neighborhood, less than three km from the center of Buganda commune, in Cibitoke province, there has been a hostile climate between the Inyankamugayo and the Imbonerakure since the night of April 6.
According to sources on the spot, these two parties fought near the office of the CNL party. These sources say that Imbonerakure aimed to destroy this office. But a significant number of young people from the CNL party were already guarding it.

Result: one injured CNL member and two Imbonerakure. All were transported to a health center for treatment.
According to these sources, in the morning of Tuesday April 7, all the young people of the CNL party residing on this hill were seen wanted by the police and the Imbonerakure for breach of security. However, no young person from the ruling party was worried.

This attitude created a feeling of incomprehension among the young people of the party led by Agathon Rwasa who consider themselves victims because they defended and protected their office.

Albert Nsekambabaye, 1st provincial secretary of CNDD-FDD party in Cibitoke, deplores the behavior displayed by these young people in the run-up to the elections and requests that the troublemakers be apprehended and punished in accordance with the law.

As for the representative of CNL party, he asked the police to be impartial because there is no reason to apprehend activists of the CNL party, especially since they have exercised their self-defense right. Abraham Zirazanye calls for the immediate release of these activists.

The provincial police commissioner reassures them saying investigations into that situation are underway.
The provincial governor of Cibitoke warns any political party that seeks to destabilize public order at a time when the country is preparing for elections in calm and total security.

According to this provincial authority, it should be noted that a similar situation was observed on Gisaba hill, Buhindo area in Murwi commune last week. The situation was brought under control following the intervention of the security forces.


Rumonge : A vandalized CNDD-FDD symbol

The Imbonerakure at daggers drawn with Inyankamugayo in Rumonge.

The climate is tense in Gatete area after the “monument” of the ruling party located near the Gatete I Basic School was vandalized. The accusing finger is pointed at the Inyankamugayo. In addition, activists of the ruling party accuse them of sending them intimidation SMSs. “We cannot bear this. Justice must do something about it”. Bahati, head of CNL party in Gatete neighborhood, rejects all these allegations. According to him, it is rather the Imbonerakure who beat them up all day long. “Recently, two young people from our party were beaten by the Imbonerakure. One who was seriously injured was admitted to hospital. We, too, cannot bear this.” For them, it is a proven provocation and it does not strengthen the democratic culture in the locality.

Jacques Ntunzwenimana, head of Gatete area, indicates that he will soon organize a meeting between the leaders and the young people of the different political parties in order to dispel this hostile climate and prepare for peaceful elections.

When contacted, the administrator of Rumonge commune, Célestin Nitanga, said that he was aware of this situation.
He asked young people in political parties to put forward constructive ideas rather than force. He promised to attend the already scheduled meeting to try to find a solution to this problem for peaceful elections.

 Kayanza province : Two wounded and a vandalized office in Butaganzwa

The CNL party office in Mufunya locality was vandalized by the Imbonerakure

“When we got up, we found over a hundred Imbonerakure clustered in our locality. They came from several hills from Butaganzwa commune. They arrived around 3 a.m.,” says a resident of Mufunya locality in this commune. It was on Thursday, April 9. The coming of a high authority for the opening of a trade center had been announced the day before.

These ceremonies could not take place. “The Imbonerakure had started beating up the people they call ”Ibipinga” (opponents). People rushed to hide in the valleys.”

Two young CNL activists, Mélance and Audrick, were seriously injured and have been admitted to Musema Hospital. “Apart from the municipal administrator, all the other municipal authorities were present. They did nothing to calm these young militants of the ruling party.” These Imbonerakure left after the police arrived. “They ordered them to leave before the situation worsened.”

At the same time, the CNL party office in Mufunya locality was ransacked. “The doors were destroyed and the chairs broken. “The writings on the walls were erased,” say Mufunya inhabitants.

Iwacu tried to contact the provincial representative of CNDD-FDD party but to no avail.

Translated into English by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana