Confusion over people’s arrests after Shinya attack

Seven people are detained in Kayanza provincial police station following the 9 July grenade attack on Shinya hill in Gatara commune of Kayanza province. Inhabitants of the locality speak of politically motivated arrests.

The seven people were arrested at 8 kilometers of Gatara locality nearby the crime scene

The seven people were arrested at 8 kilometers of Gatara locality nearby the crime scene

The residents of Shinya hill in Ngoro area, Gatara commune of Kayanza Northern Province say they will never forget the date of 9 July 2017 when a grenade was thrown into the bar of the locality around 7:00 pm.

Fear grips the area these days. An estimated 5 deaths namely Osias Niyomukunzi aged 10, Gaudence Irankunda, aged 18 and mother of a young baby, Narcisse Nsabimana, 66 ,Jean Marie Bigirindavyi 5 and Come Nsabimana, 15. About 40 people who were wounded in the attack were quickly evacuated to various hospitals in Kayanza province.

Confusion around the attack

In the aftermath of the attack, Kayanza Governor, Anicet Ndayizeye, parliamentarians and various police officials went to the spot to calm down the scared people. According to the sources from the locality, these officials asked the population to write on a piece of paper the names of potential suspects. “Some gathered in small groups to execute this order. It was also an opportunity for the settling of account for some other people,” says a resident of the locality. These accusing pieces of paper were relayed from hand to hand.

In the wake, three people were quickly arrested on the same day. Four others were apprehended afterwards. The people of Shinya didn’t gather that. They wondered if this was the way investigations should be conducted. “Apprehending people on mere accusations and with a piece of paper is new and strange,” says N.S, a resident of Shinya.

According to the residents of Shinya, these arrests are of political motives because these prisoners are of Uprona pro-Nditije wing as well as MSD party militants. They point the finger at the leader of Cndd-Fdd party in Gatara Commune, Jean Bosco Ndikumwenayo, to be behind these arrests. “It was he, with Imbonerakure, who went to arrest Philibert Nibitanga while he was hospitalized in Musema area.”
The latter is among the wounded in the attack.

They argue that this leader of the ruling party has been having an argument with them for a long time. “Our hill is made up of 95% of opposition activists and the majority is from the Tutsi ethnic group. He has always tried to get us to join his party in vain”, he said.

In the 2015 crisis, they claim that he sent Imbonerakure to attack them by accusing them of being demonstrators. Iwacu tried to join Jean Bosco Ndikumwenayo but in vain.

Dévote Ndayizeye, Administrator of Gatara commune, denied the allegations against Jean Bosco Ndikumwenayo: “When these arrests took place, we had sent him to the capital Bujumbura for a training”, she said. Concerning the arrest of Philibert Nibitanga at the hospital, she speaks of lies. “The detractors of the leader of the party always accuse him of all evils”, she said. She also confirmed that the accused were arrested by security forces agents. “That does not prevent them from seeking the help of joint security committees,” she said.

Contacted by Iwacu, a judicial source at the Kayanza prosecutor’s office said the seven people were arrested by the court for investigative reasons. The same source reports that they are kept in one of the detention places in Kayanza province. He also said the justice has the right to arrest any suspect for investigation reasons.