Jean Bigirimana

Three years now, no news about journalist Bigirimana

Jean Bigirimana, Iwacu journalist has gone missing since 22 July 2016. The newspaper and his family are still waiting for the results of the investigations conducted into his disappearance.

Colleagues of Jean Bigirimana still remember him three years after he was reported missing

“Jean Bigirimana was a journalist. His disappearance is a trauma for all of us”, says Léandre Sikuyavuga, Editor-in-chief of Iwacu Press Group on the third anniversary of Jean’s disappearance. He says the situation has not been easy for Iwacu journalists since he disappeared. “We live in fear but we don’t give up. We continue working”, says Sikuyavuga.

Two young journalists have laid a wreath of flowers at the foot of a half-length portrait of Jean Bigirimana erected in the compound of Iwacu Press Group. “This is a strong message that Iwacu didn’t fall. The next generation is still there,” adds Mr Sikuyavuga.

Iwacu Press Group also thinks about his family. “It should rely on Iwacu”, says Iwacu chief editor.
Godeberthe Hakizimana, his wife says three years without any news about his disappearance is enough. “It’s a big issue and we plan to proceed with a partial mourning even if we don’t have means”, she says adding that it will help children to understand what had happened to their father.

She also exhorts Iwacu Press Group to continue supporting her family. She also urges Burundi justice to continue the investigations. “We want to know the truth”, she says.

On this occasion, Léandre Sikuyavuga asks Iwacu journalists to be more professional. “The prevailing situation is not easy for Iwacu but be courageous and work professionally. Our role is very crucial for Burundians. They need diversified and good quality information,” he says adding that Iwacu is the voices of Burundi. “We must remain strong for Burundi and its people,” he concludes.

In a statement issued on 22 July, Reporters without Borders-RSF requests DNA analysis for bodies found shortly after the reporter’s disappearance. “Three years after the disappearance of Jean Bigirimana, it is unacceptable that the investigation remains at a standstill while there is at least one serious track that has not been fully exploited”, says Arnaud Froger, head of RSF’s Africa office adding only DNA tests can certify with certainty if one of the two bodies is that of the journalist or not.
Iwacu Press Group filed a lawsuit against X and is still waiting. Jean Bigirimana has gone missing since 22 July 2016. Sources say he was abducted by people in a car of the National Intelligence Service.