Three Burundian journalists from local radio mistreated by police while reporting

Alain Majesté Barenga, Bella Gloria Kimana, Alain Niyomucamanza, three journalists from a local radio station “Radio Culture” and Armand Bigirumuremyi, their driver have been mistreated this morning of 27 August by the police agents.

The three journalists persecuted are from “Radio Culture” local radio station.

The three journalists persecuted are from “Radio Culture” local radio station.

They were collecting information on the misunderstandings that occurred between the local residents and administration in Ngagara neighborhood, section 10, in Ntahangwa municipality in the north of the capital Bujumbura.

“When we heard about the probable misunderstandings, we decide to go to the area to cover the event. When we arrived there, the police agents surrounded us and prevented us from doing our job despite the fact that we had introduced ourselves to them,” says Alain Majesté Barenga.

The police started persecuting the three journalists shortly. “Police agents hit my back three times with a gun”, says Alain Majesté. Afterwards, the journalists realized that the situation would go from bad to worse any time then and decided to leave the place.

Alain Niyomucamanza says the police agents also continued to mistreat them. “They even followed us uttering offensive remarks against us”, he says. Thanks to the population that was present on the spot, we managed to leave the place safely, adds Niyomucamanza.

The journalists call upon the police and administration to facilitate their work. “We are not their enemies but their associates. Instead of protecting us and our equipment, police agents have mistreated us”, says Niyomucamanza.

Iwacu has tried to contact the police spokesperson in order to react to the journalists’ accusations but in vain.

In the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, Reporters without Borders-RSF has ranked Burundi at 159th place out of 180 countries. RSF reported that journalists find it hard to work freely in the country and are often harassed by security forces.