Cendajuru/Busoni – Political intolerance: A worrying phenomenon

Two houses of members of the National Congress for Liberty (CNL) were burned down in Gashirwe area of Cendajuru commune in Cankuzo province. The Imbonerakure youth and an MP of the ruling CNDD-FDD are said to be behind that. The Imbonerakure are also accused of having burnt down a house of a CNL activist in Busoni commune of Kirundo province. Iwacu met the victims and local authorities.

Immaculée Bayadonde said she feared a new attack.

“I was asleep in my room when I saw flames above me. I quickly alerted my parents and we left the house,” says Jérôme Nyabenda, the son of Liboire Rwasa, a resident of Gashirwe locality, Nyamugari area in Cendajuru commune. “We could not see these criminals. It was around 11 a.m. Our neighbors helped us put out the fire until 1:00 a.m.,” adds Liboire Rwasa. “We fear a new attack,” adds his wife, Immaculée Bayadonde.

The family of Rwasa lives in the Rumpungwe river valley. Their house is thatched. “That’s why it burned so fast.” When Liboire Rwasa and his wife look at what is left of their house, they almost burst into tears.

“The Imbonerakure (youth of the ruling party CNDD-FDD) say it’s not over yet,” says Liboire Rwasa. The family wants to move. “We have nowhere to go. We would like to come back after the elections. We fear for our lives. ” For the neighbors of the family, those who set their house on fire are known: “They are the Imbonerakure. This family has been threatened for a long time because they are member of CNL party,” said a neighbor.

“Sometimes the Imbonerakure come to dance in front of their house singing” Tuzobamesa “” (we are going to wash them).” Their family ties with the president of the main opposition party (CNL) are the source of these intimidations. “My father and the father of Agathon Rwasa are brothers,” says Immaculate Bayadonde. “We are threatened because we are members of CNL party,” added her husband.

They accuse MP Anglebert Ngendabanka

According to Liboire Rwasa, no authority has arrived on the scene except the hill chief. “The communal administrator and the communal police commissioner were aware of that.” In the wake of that night, René Miburo’s house was also burned down. “He, too, is a member of CNL party,” says a neighbor of the family.

Joseph Mpanuka, Nyamugari zone chief, did not want to make a comment. “You have to ask the communal administrator. I have already transmitted the report. ” Asked, Béatrice Nibaruta, administrator of Cendajuru commune, stalls.
“Why do you still want to talk about what happened in Gashirwe?” There are other things to talk about. I have no comment about this issue.”

Paulin Sindayigaya, representative of CNDD-FDD party in Cendajuru commune, rejects these accusations. “The Imbonerakure are not involved in this issue. Besides, we thought that this fire was an accident. We live in harmony with other members of different political parties”.

CNL activists in this commune claim to be persecuted. “Normally, we had no problems with the other political parties. But, things started to go wrong on Rukoyoyo hill when we opened our office. It was on February 9, this year. ” These Inyankamugayo (members of CNL party) say their flag was stolen after a week.

Anglebert Ngendabanka dismisses all accusations brought against him

“According to the information we have received, those who burned the two houses in Gashirwe locality came from Rukoyoyo hill. The order was given by MP Anglebert Ngendabanka. He is a native of this locality.”

According to CNL activists, this deputy is behind all these intimidations and threats against them. “When he’s not around, everything is fine. Whenever he sets foot in Cendajuru, the situation deteriorates. He is the source of all these abuses.”

According to them, he organizes night meetings with the Imbonerakure. “He says he will eradicate the Corona virus which is the CNL. According to him, the members of CNL party are becoming more and more numerous. He said he would spend two months in Rukoyoyo in order to bring to heel the opponents.”

Contacted, MP Anglebert Ngendabanka said he was saddened to hear these accusations. “These are lies aimed at damaging my reputation. If they have evidence, they can file a complaint to the court.” He says his mission is to protect the population rather than to mistreat them.

Busoni/ Persecution for witchcraft, land dispute or political opinion?

The CNL representative in Mukerwa zone in Busoni commune of Kirundo province fled his home after escaping an execution. Threatened, a good number of other militants of this party in this zone stay at home for fear of being beaten or killed. But here too, they are not immune to attack.

Emmanuel Coyitungiye says he is being persecuted

When Iwacu joined Emmanuel Coyitungiye in the place where he takes refuge, on Tuesday March 17, it has been exactly 12 days since he went into hiding. Mr Coyitungiye, the CNL representative in Mukerwa area, wears a plaid shirt and sports pants. His clothes are dirty. “These are just the only ones I left with. I was dressed like that when I fled on Thursday, March 5”…

The flight

That Thursday, around 11 a.m., Emmanuel Coyitungiye learned, at the Mukerwa center, that a corpse of a person had been deposited in front of his home. His wife and sister have already fled. “A friend warned me that I would be killed if I ventured to get home. Those who deposited the corpse had machetes and clubs.”

He will take refuge to a relative living in a locality bordering Mukerwa zone, in Vumbi commune. It is from there that he learned that the corpse was that of the wife of Gérard Ndikumagenge, his maternal uncle.

The latter allegedly accused his nephew of having used black magic to kill his wife. “He accused him of this death following a land dispute between them,” say residents of Mukerwa.

Emmanuel Coyitungiye rather speaks of a pretext to be able to kick him out of the area. “Gérard Ndikumagenge was manipulated by Anatole Rugemintwaza, the head of this area, who does not wish to see me.”

Among those who had surrounded his home, Emmanuel mentions Gérard Ndikumagenge, Kabeba and Muganwari, all Imbonerakure from this area…

It is from his hiding place that he will confide in the administration, the police and the justice.
But in the meantime, at the dawn of March 7, another bad news reached him. Her house was set on fire at around 10 p.m.

Everything that was inside the house including a motorcycle, two bikes and goats, were looted. Renate Kamatamo, his grandmother who lived there, was also seriously injured by the attackers.

His complaints have ultimately come to nothing, so far. At the request of the governor’s adviser, the communal administrator of Busoni will take Emmanuel and his wife to the commune. But there, they will not benefit from any assistance. They have nothing to eat.

After three days, they decided to return to the governor’s house. The latter himself went with them the following day in a pacification meeting in Mukerwa locality.

Nothing will be done except a message of appeasement from the governor. “Those who attacked us were also present at the meeting and they made fun of us. We decided to return to our hiding place in Vumbi”.

They will not have the chance to stay there. According to reports, they will be turned back by the leaders of the locality where they had returned. “They told them that they cannot stay there while they are members of CNL party. Even the one who had received them was threatened. ”

They will change hiding places, from Vumbi to Kirundo commune. The Coyitungiye family no longer knows which way to go. They call on any competent authority to come to their assistance.

Simple activists are not spared

Domitien Nkezabahizi and Régis Ndacayisaba regret that their attackers were not worried by anything

Domitien Nkezabahizi and Régis Ndacayisaba, Inyankamugayo from Mukerwa area experienced a nightmare on the evening of Sunday 8 March. They are neighbors.

According to them, it was around 7:30 p.m. when a group of Imbonerakure led by Gérard Setomanzi, deputy hill chief, came to Nkezabahizi’s home.

This evening, Régis Ndacayisaba’s children did not return early as usual. Worried, he went to his neighbor’s house to check if they are not there. The attackers arrived immediately after his arrival.

And, on Setomanzi’s orders, the Imbonerakure attacked the two Inyankamugayo. “He whistled three times, it was a signal.”

During a showdown with Ndacayisaba, Nkezabahizi was beaten, but still managed to enter his house and close. Some of the attackers pursued him in vain. They tried to force the door, the windows, always to no avail. In the meantime, Ndacayisaba was being beaten up. Among those who assaulted him, he will recognize Mbonimpa alias Rwembe, Kadeberi, Anicet Karangwa and Kamariza, all Imbonerakure from his locality.

At one point, some of them will lend a hand to the team that forces the door. Ndacayisaba took advantage of it, ran away and hid. In front of his door, in addition to the faces spotted by Ndacayisaba, Nkezabahizi will also distinguish the voices of Muvuzankima and Bazizane, other Imbonerakure from Mukerwa area.

“Rwembe threatened to burn down my house if I don’t go out. I held my breath. I knew I could be killed if I went out. ”
On Tuesday, March 17, Régis Ndacayisaba was still bearing the marks as a result of the beating he experienced. His forehead still had swelling above the left eye. These Inyankamugayo complained. However, they say they did not get a feedback. “The Investigative police officer who examined our case ended up giving up, saying that he was unable to bring the criminals to court.”

According to them, to make fun of them, their attackers turned the knife in the wound. “They went to ransack our fields. They cut down the banana plantations. They then threatened our families. Our women have already left us. ”
According to reports, in Mukerwa, the Inyankamugayo have been confined to their homes for a long time. “It is an instruction, we must try to avoid as much as possible clashes with the Imbonerakure”.

The administrator of Busoni commune says to be aware of the issue of Emmanuel Coyitungiye and his family. However, Albert Hatungimana categorically rejects any political dimension in it. He speaks of a land dispute with suspicions of witchcraft. According to him, Emmanuel Coyitungiye’s uncle would like, with accomplices, to chase him away to own his land.

Contacted on the phone on Thursday, this administrative official said he was following the matter closely.
“We were together earlier with these victims. I offered them hospitality for this night. Tomorrow I will go to the hill to resolve this problem.”

Regarding the case of Domitien Nkezabahizi and Régis Ndacayisaba, Albert Hatungimana indicates that he does not know anything about it. For his part, Anatole Rugemintwaza, Mukerwa zone chief, says that no one is persecuting these two Inyankamugayo.

Nyanza-lac/ Renewed political intolerance

Six CNL party leaders in this commune have been behind bars for a week. They are accused of participating in an illegal meeting. A member of that party was seriously injured with a machete.

Political intolerance is gaining momentum a few weeks before the elections. In southern Nyanza-lac, it manifests itself in the narrowing of the political space, arbitrary arrests and acts of intimidation against members of the opposition parties, as indicated by Gordien Habarugira, leader of CNL party in this commune.

According to him, acts of intimidation, cruel inhuman and degrading treatment, in short, human rights violations are constantly increasing. He specifies that a young man named Samuel Bankuwiha member of CNL party was seriously injured by machete by people not yet identified.

“They found this young man in his hairdresser’s in Mvugo locality on Monday March 16 and injured him with machete.” In the morning, this young hairdresser was dying and was taken directly to the Kibuye hospital in Gitega province. He asked the police to carry out more detailed investigations to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Arbitrary arrests

He also indicates that six party officials at the zone level are detained in the police cell. They are accused of participating in a clandestine and illegal meeting in Bukeye district of Nyanza-lac commune. He describes these arrests as arbitrary and says they are aimed at restricting the political space to the CNL party by proceeding to the arrest of its officials. He demands their release in order to enjoy, like other citizens, public freedoms.

He denounces robberies and beatings committed by young people from the ruling party during the patrol on Mugerama hill at Gitara sub-hill on Sunday March 15 at around 8 p.m.

These young people entered the bar of a certain Jean Marie Nsabimana and began to beat up people who were quenching their thirst before taking their money and phones, referring to them as the enemies of the country.

Three people, including the bar owner complained to the police against the leader of these young people of the ruling party and are awaiting the outcome of the police investigation.

Over the past month, there was an attempt to burn down a CNL party office in Bukeye district of the city of Nyanza-lac.

He calls for an urgent meeting between the stakeholders in the electoral process so that there is a healthy environment conducive to free, transparent, peaceful and inclusive elections.

The administrative authorities say that the members of the different political parties coexist peacefully except a few isolated cases and add that anyone who breaks the law is arrested and punished. They ask those responsible to avoid confusing politics with the ordinary crimes which are punished on a daily basis, adding that criminal responsibility is personal.

Note that Nyanza-lac is a strategic commune for competing political parties, because half of the electorate of Makamba province lives in this constituency.

Leader of CNL party in Migera killed

Following the assassination of Méthuselah Nahishakiye, head of the CNL party in Migera locality, Kabezi commune, 12 people were arrested for investigative reasons. Iwacu made a follow-up.

According to testimonies, the assassination of Méthuselah Nahishakiye was well planned

Méthuselah Nahishakiye, 25, the head of the opposition CNL (National Congress for Freedom) party on Migera Hill, Kabezi commune in Bujumbura province, was assassinated on the night of March 16. His body was riddled with bullets.

According to the information gathered from a family member, on March 17, the late Nahishakiye was murdered for political reasons and his death was clearly planned. This relative reveals that there was, last Sunday, a meeting aimed at eliminating him. “Some local leaders and the young people of the ruling party in the locality would have taken part in this meeting”.

Emmanuel Nyandwi, head of Migera hill, refutes the allegations made by the family of the late Méthuselah Nahishakiye. According to him, the deceased was murdered following land disputes between his family and his cousins, on the paternal side. Six people were arrested for investigative reasons.

However, the information collected this Thursday, March 19, by the head of CNL party in Kabezi commune says that 12 people were arrested the day after the assassination of Méthuselah Nahishakiye. Raphael Nsabimana specifies that among these 12 imprisoned people, there are 11 CNL activists including the CNL leader in Migera zone.

Among the 12 people arrested the day after the assassination of Méthuselah Nahishakiye, 7 have been released: some have been free since March 17. He adds that the 5 others who have not been released are the deceased’s cousins.

The family members of the late Méthuselah Nahishakiye say they live in fear. They report that the deceased had confided to his family that the youth of the ruling party had been threatening to kill him. “We demand that justice be done and that the real perpetrators of this assassination be punished,” says MV.

Jean Marie Ndayishimiye, the head of Migera zone says that there is peaceful coexistence between the members of different political parties.

Méthuselah Nahishakiye was assassinated on the night of March 16, around 7 p.m., when he was returning home. The deceased was shot several times on the head, ribs, chest and legs.

Translated into English by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana