Thirteen people arrested over land issue

At least 30 persons have staged a sit in before the ombudsman’s office asking him to release their 13 relatives arrested over land issues.

Twarazaniwe Louis’ descendants ask the Ombudsman to help them so that their relatives be released

A member of the concerned family says their relatives were arrested because they refused to sign a document that gives the right of exploitation to one of the ‘people who claim they are the owners of the plot. “Thirteen persons were arrested on February 14, 2019 when it was raining because they refused to sign a document testifying that Thomas Mugirente has bought the plot of land”.

Mariam, a woman aged 30, asks the justice to do its job. “They want to make us homeless while we had our own properties. How can they claim they bought properties in Ngagara commune and come to build in Mutimbuzi commune?” she wonders.

They ask the Ombudsman to help them so that their relatives can be released and help stop the ongoing building activities in their plots of land. “All the building activities in these parcels should be suspended as long as the justice has not ruled on this matter,” says a man from that family.

Edouard Nduwimana, Burundi Ombudsman says he feels concerned over this case and promises to get involved. “It is sad that someone can be arrested while claiming their rights. I promise to be involved and help to tackle the issue,” he says. “I have already talked to the director of public prosecutions and he promised to release the arrested people”, he says.

Mr Nduwimana calls on this family to calm down and keep on following the case closely without using violence. “In fact, it is not allowed to build while the case has been brought to justice. But there is no problem. Justice will rule on the issue and even built houses may be demolished”.

The conflict about this plot of land located in Kajaga area oppose descendants of Louis Twarazaniwe and five people who claim that they bought this land from the town planning management. Descendants of Louis Twarazaniwe say they inherited the land from their grandparent and have never sold it.