Cases of kidnapping on the rise in Burundi, police say

The spokesman for the Burundian national police, Pierre Nkurikiye, held a press conference on Thursday clarifying the acts of kidnapping and swindling that are becoming more common in Burundi.

Pierre Nkurikiye, Spokesman for the Police: “We realized there are two types of kidnapping: Simulated and real kidnapping”

Pierre Nkurikiye, Spokesman for the Police: “We realized there are two types of kidnapping: Simulated and real kidnapping”

Recently, there have been many cases of kidnapping all over the country, the police conducted investigation. “Since 2015 the rate of kidnapping cases has increased due to the crisis. We realized there are two types of kidnapping: simulated and real kidnapping”, Police spokesman says.

“Some criminals pretend to be working for Burundi National Intelligence Agency (SNR) and they are most of time helped by unfaithful policemen. They kidnap a known person for money or other purposes. 2 policemen are now jailed for that”, says Mr. Nkurikiye.

For simulated kidnappings, he says there are groups of people who organize a kidnapping of one of them just to demand a ransom from his or her family. Others are teenagers simulating their own kidnapping in order to steal money from their parents, he says.

A case in point is that of a young man aged 20, in need of money, who tried to get BIF 3million from his family. “I had gone to Makamba, sent them a message saying that I was kidnapped, when I went to ecocash to withdraw the ransom, I found it was blocked and I was caught”, says the young man.

Mr. Nkurikiye talked about cases of swindle in Bujumbura town as well. “Most swindlers pretend to be soldiers from Somalia with much money and propose to make business; they finally end up stealing people’s money”

Nkurikiye urges the population to alert the police whenever there is a case of kidnapping. “If ever the police comes to arrest someone, people should ask for a warrant and be told the reason”.

The police spokesperson advises the population to note the number plate, try to follow the car and contact the police to know whether the arrest is legal or not.

The UN independent investigation had released a report on Burundi saying that many persons have disappeared since the beginning of the crisis in April 2015, often following their arbitrary arrest by security forces, notably the Police and the National Intelligence agents. The victims include opposition, civil society members and demonstrators