Willy Nyamitwe assassination attempt worsens the situation

On Monday, November 28, 2016, Willy Nyamitwe, senior communication advisor to President Nkurunziza, escapes an assassination attempt in Kajaga area of Mutimbuzi commune of Bujumbura Province. Charges arise from all sides. His assassination attempt creates confusion.

Directed by Fabrice Manirakiza, Edouard Madirisha, Christian Bigirimana, Rénovat Ndabashinze and Egide Nikiza. Translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

The locality where Willy Nyamitwe's vehicle was shot

The locality where Willy Nyamitwe’s vehicle was shot

Armed men ambushed the vehicle of Willy Nyamitwe, President Nkurunziza’s senior communication advisor. It was on Monday, November 28, 2016. According to witnesses, it was around 9:10 pm as he was returning home in the district of Kajaga of Mutimbuzi commune in Bujumbura province, about fifty meters from Caravan Beach Bar.

According to Pierre Nkurikiye, Spokesperson of the Burundian police, this group of assailants consisted of 5 to 10 people, including a Rwandan soldier. Kajaga residents say the assailants were scattered in many houses under construction in that neighborhood.

Pierre Nkurikiye said Gasongo, a bodyguard of Willy Nyamitwe was killed on the spot. Nyamitwe was wounded on the arm. His driver was also injured on the leg and at the mouth. Mr Nkurikiye said the Kajaga position soldiers quickly intervened, which made it possible to limit the damage.” Three grenades were launched, two did not explode”, said the spokesman of the police.

A wide range of accusations

Philippe Nzobonariba: "The acts of destabilization observed in Burundi are the responsibility of Pacific Nininahazwe and his team."

Philippe Nzobonariba: “The acts of destabilization observed in Burundi are the responsibility of Pacific Nininahazwe and his team.”

Pierre Nkurikiye accuses Rwanda of being behind this assassination attempt. He said that Jean Claude Nduwimana, a corporal of the Burundian army, revealed during his arrest that he was among the plotters of this assassination attempt and that he is working with people based in Rwanda.

According to Nkurikiye, the soldier also accused Colonel Dieudonné Dushimagize also known as Gangi, who was arrested a few days ago and transferred to the Mpimba central prison, of being “the focal point of those people residing in Rwanda and Burundi, and whose plan is to assassinate higher authorities of the country. “Nkurikiye also said that it was the third time that Willy Nyamitwe escaped an attack. “The first time he returned from a diplomatic mission and lately it was at the Panoramic Hotel in Bujumbura. Killers’ plans have always been thwarted by his bodyguards.”

A few hours later, the Burundian government announced other culprits. Without mentioning Rwanda, Philippe Nzobonariba, Spokesman of the government, hurls accusations to both Pacifique Nininahazwe, president of FOCODE (local NGO) and Belgium. “This attempt comes after a message published by one of the extremists wanted by the Burundian justice and who is under an international arrest warrant, Pacific Nininahazwe,” he said. The said message, “You must flatten and exterminate these people”, is further evidence that the acts of destabilization observed in Burundi are the responsibility of Pacifique Nininahazwe and his team “supported by Belgian authorities”.

On this, Bujumbura calls for the cooperation of Belgium and the international community in order to arrest the chairman of Focode and “his accomplices whose responsibility in the targeted killings is no longer to be demonstrated”.

The state of play in investigations

In addition to two suspects including Jean Claude Nduwimana, a corporal of the Burundian army allegedly arrested in possession of two pistols and reportedly working with people based in Rwanda and Colonel Dieudonné Dushimagize alias Gangi, Pierre Nkurikiye, talks about other arrests in this case without going into details.


Pacific Nininahazwe: “Burundian authorities should quickly prosecute Révérien Ndikuriyo”

Pacifique-Nininahazwe-600x480“I was surprised by the remarks of Philippe Nzobonariba who accused me of being in connection with the assassination attempt of Willy Nyamitwe, just because I shared, one day on twitter, an article of the newspaper L’Humanité, which commented on the recent FIDH report on the human rights situation in Burundi. ”

According to Pacifique Nininahazwe, the title of this article was reiterated by Révérien Ndikuriyo, President of the Burundian Senate, in October 2015 in Mutakura, where he called for the massacre of citizens so that the Imbonerakure(youth affiliated to the ruling party)or other agents of power gain some plots of land when the citizens of these neighborhoods had disappeared. “Thirteen months later, I think that Nkurunziza government has just realized the seriousness of the remarks made by Révérien Ndikuriyo.” In the opinion of the president of FOCODE, the Burundian authorities should rather quickly pursue Révérien Ndikuriyo. “It is unbelievable that government officials allow themselves to make such statements without any investigation.” He also called for an independent investigation into what really happened in this attempt to assassinate Willy Nyamitwe.

René Ngendahimana: “Rwanda does not expect any interest in the death of Willy Nyamitwe”

René-Ngendahimana-600x400Lieutenant Col. René Ngendahimana, Rwandan Army Spokesman, said Burundi has no evidence to show that Rwanda has a share of responsibility in the attempt to assassinate Willy Nyamitwe: “Saying that there is a Rwandan soldier Involved in this assassination attempt isn’t just a proof of the reality. It is simply a lie without evidence. “Speaking in the evening of Tuesday, on the Rwandan site,, he specifies that each soldier has his identification documents.”The fact of not revealing one’s identity shows that their remarks are unfounded,” he said. “Rwanda does not expect any interest in the death of Willy Nyamitwe. These are unfounded accusations which cannot, in any way, tarnish the image of the Rwandan army because they are void of veracity”, he said.

EU & USA: “Any use of violence is unacceptable”

The European Union and the United States have condemned this assassination attempt. “The attack committed on the 28 November against Willy Nyamitwe, Senior Adviser to the President of the Republic of Burundi in charge of press, information and communication matters, is inadmissible.

It reflects the persistence of a climate of violence in Burundi, characterized by numerous murders and enforced disappearances, “says an EU statement issued on Tuesday. The EU recalls that all political violence is inadmissible, irrespective of its authors or forms. A message relayed by the United States via its embassy in Bujumbura calls for calm and restraint in the city of Bujumbura while the authorities are investigating the attack. The EU and the United States are, thus, calling on all parties to seek a political solution through an inclusive dialogue to end the current crisis.

Willy Nyamitwe was quick to respond via his twitter account: “I thank the EU and USA for condemning this terrorist act against me. However, this has nothing to do with #Burundi Dialogue »

Cnared: “Evidence of an explosive situation”

“If Willy Nyamitwe can be the victim of an assassination attempt, it means in any case that nobody is safe in Burundi,” reacted Cnared Gira Iteka-an opposition platform, a few hours after the assassination attempt against the senior advisor to President Nkurunziza. This, according to Cnared, could appeal to the International Community especially the United Nations to not continue to remain passive in front of such an explosive situation. Cnared believes, moreover, that the hypothesis of retaliation is not to be excluded. Because, justifies this platform of the opposition, Willy Nyamitwe never ceases to repeat that peace is total throughout the country and that security forces accomplish their mission successfully. Cnared believes that it is urgent to find a negotiated political solution or that the UN should send an international force to protect the population.

Gray areas and questions

1. Whereas we do not know the truth about the death of General Athanase Kararuza, Lieutenant-Colonel Darius Ikurakure, Hasfa Mossi, Colonel Jean Bikomagu, Lieutenant-General Adolphe Nshimirimana …the investigation into the assassination attempt of Willy Nyamitwe is closed in less than 24 hour.

2. There are contradictions in spokespersons’ statements. Pierre Nkurikiye accuses Rwanda while Philippe Nzobonariba indicts Pacific Nininahazwe and Belgium for the assassination attempt. According to Pierre Nkurikiye, spokesperson of the police, the two communications complement each other: “At the press conference, I spoke of the executants (authors), often based in Kigali, because they have the same modus operandi while the government’s communiqué signed by Philippe Nzobonariba speaks of the sponsors (intellectual authors) that are Pacific Nininahazwe and Belgium”.

3. Pierre Nkurikiye evokes a Rwandan soldier who was in the act but does not give his identity.

4. The police reported that it was aware that Willy Nyamitwe had been in danger for a month. Why hasn’t his security been strengthened? Here, too, Pierre Nkurikiye says the security of the presidential advisor has been reinforced: “Otherwise, he would have been killed. It is because his guards shot back, though one of them was killed, that Nyamitwe is still alive. As for the security arrangements in terms of numbers, Mr Nkurikiye concludes, this is a matter of professional secrecy.

5. Is a simple tweet enough to accuse someone of attempted assassination?

6. The Kajaga district is teeming with military positions. One might wonder how this group of 5 to 10 people was able to infiltrate these houses under construction and await the arrival of Willy Nyamitwe.

An attack that stirs up passions

After the attack on the head of the senior communication adviser to the president, reactions on social networks, especially on Twitter, demonstrated, once again, the gap that exists between some Burundians.

Willy Nyamitwe: "The plan is known: To kill one of the leaders to trigger chaos and force dialogue with putschists. "

Willy Nyamitwe: “The plan is known: To kill one of the leaders to trigger chaos and force dialogue with putschists. “

On the one hand, there are the reactions from those who support Willy Nyamitwe, including himself, and the power. For the majority of them, it is the radical opposition, supported by European countries, of which they accuse this attack, which was already known by some. Tweets even link this attack to the dialogue demanded by the opposition.
BurundiReality @BurundiReality

@willynyamitwe:The plan is known: “Kill 1 / of the leaders to trigger chaos and force dialogue with puschists”.
Jeff RUKANDINGONA @ jabaga70

To organise & finance a terrorist attack and then demand a dialogue between the victim & the perpetrator of the attack is an insult to # Burundians

@Sindimwo_G: “For more than a month we know there is a plan to kill, not only @willynyamitwe, but also the top level officials of #Burundi”

Willy Nyamitwe Certified Account @willynyamitwe
#Burundi: I thank the EU and USA for condemning this terrorist act against me. However, this has nothing to do with #BurundiDialogue

Willy Nyamitwe Certified Account @willynyamitwe
Willy Nyamitwe has retweet Willy Nyamitwe

What the @cnaredburundi says “that there must be assassinations for a dialogue to be held” is highlighted by the latest communiqué by the EU

Willy Nyamitwe Certified Account @willynyamitwe
Nditije promises even more assassinations to push @pnkurunziza to negotiate with @cnaredburundi. #Burundi

Willy Nyamitwe Certified Account @willynyamitwe
The @fidh_fr speaks of the trigger of the Genocide: assassination of @pnkurunziza or his collaborators. My assassination was plotted. P.41 & 109

Civil society associations in #Burundi condemn the @willynyamitwe case and ask #Belgium to stop the manoeuvres!

Nubwacu Yves Lionel @ LionelYves1 1 hour ago
Nubwacu Yves Lionel has retweeted SamandariBihovongo
One wonders how genocide would start in #Burundi
Fridolin Nzambimana @Fridolinandres

#Burundi “The plan is not new to us, the embarrassing person is first suppressed, then the people are plunged into the blood”. They will be defeated!
Avo_wally @Bravo_Wally

@Munezero_DoriaN it’s crystal clear that it was the order of the EU
@ndamathie @ willynyamitwe @ WMkapa

On the other hand, tweets call into question this attack and speak of a machination. Some went so far as to regret that Mr. Nyamitwe had escaped, and threatened him.
Gisèle Cherie @ K03643613

@ US_SEGL @ willynyamitwe He organized a mock attack. # Burundians are very much used to it. Otherwise he would be dead. He is no a magician!
Mutoyi2015 @ mutoyi2015
@ Willynyamitwe @ MucoVal Add to the fact that the government has been aware of that for over 1 month and let that be. It’s weird!
Valéry Muco @ MucoVal 24 hours ago
#Burundi Where is Willy Nyamitwe? Did anyone see the wound on his arm? Why hasn’t he yet published his photo as he likes to do so?

Jérémie Minani shared Minani Jérémie’s post. (Facebook)
“In all my conscience, how can I condemn an armed attack against this monster? Willy Nyamitwe deserves what he had and his death would have been a justice for millions of Burundians victims of these mass atrocities that he has always defended.
Blaise Baconib @Baconib
If @pnkurunziza gets rid of @willynyamitwe after # Adolphe # Darius # Hafsa # Uwamahoro etc. Who will be next? #KiretseBoseAbamazelol
NtareMwambutsa @mwambutsa_ntare
No Compassion for an assassin, torturer like @ willynyamitwe many innocent people have been tortured in the eyes of this guy @RFIAfrique

BigGeorgeBalaaBujitu @BigGeorgeBalaa
@ WillynyamitweYou prat. It is not finished yet
MUGIRANEZA @ niyunge18 hours ago
@willynyamitwe, true liar, we know that you want to eliminate people unjustly, how come you escape from death like that, bastard.