Clashes between youths in Butihinda

The Rukira hill of Butihinda commune in Muyinga province has been a theatre of clashes between the youths of the ruling party and those of the opposition. The confrontation left two dead on side of the opposition youth.

It all started on the evening of Sunday, April 21st. About five Imbonerakure-youths affiliated to the ruling party CNDD-FDD found a dozen youth from the opposition parties in the center of Rukira hill. There were also other residents in the area. The bars were full of people and shops were receiving customers. These young people from CNDD-FDD party were coming back from a patrol. They were called by their comrades to back them in securing the perimeter in anticipation of an imminent attack by an armed group from a neighboring country. This information proved to be false and the police stopped their investigations and the Imbonerakure went home.

They dispersed and five of them found themselves among the members of CNL and Sahwanya Frodebu parties.
These young people of the ruling party started abusing them verbally. They accused them of being in contact with the enemy that would come from outside. They knew they were not many but were not afraid. They were members of CNDD-FDD and consider themselves untouchable. The young people from CNL party got upset. The fight broke out. The young people of the party in power got seriously beaten.

The next day, they alerted their comrades. It was time for revenge. The operation was led by a certain Saidi Nyamarushwa, vice-president of CNDD-FDD party in Butihinda commune and the zone chief called Issa Bankuwunguka.

A search was improvised in search of anyone who was involved in the Sunday fight. Anyone suspected was beaten. Aloys Ncishubwenge, a member of Frodebu party, will succumb to his injuries.

Some were lucky enough to be notified in advance. They decide to disappear. These include Révérien Kwizerimana, president of Frodebu party in this locality. From his hiding place, he learned that his wife named Gilberte Hatungimana was beaten. She had a black eye and some of her ribs were broken. “I couldn’t even reach her on the phone. They took it from her, he complains, adding that he is forced to remain in hiding until things settle down. “I am also considering going into exile,” he said.

A certain Zacharie Nizigiyimana, was wounded and was going to be taken to Kamaramango prison. The next day, in the afternoon of Tuesday, his comrades learned that he would have died in his cell. The police and Imbonerakure continued their manhunt. They went away with three other people. Fear grows on Rukira hill.

“Curfew imposed at 9 pm”

On Wednesday, April 24th, the Governor of Muyinga province, Aline Manirabarusha, went to Butihinda, where a security meeting was organized to try to calm people down. The administrator of Butihinda commune, the police commissioner of Muyinga as well as the commander of the 3rd military region had attended it.

On the side of CNL party, a delegation left Bujumbura to visit the site. One of the CNL party representatives in this locality asked the Director of Public Prosecutions in Muyinga to investigate the two murders. “It’s not normal for people to be killed and for administrative staff to act as if nothing had happened.”

The Governor of Muyinga province says she is not aware of reports of people being killed. “The administrator did not tell me anything”. She also refused to talk about political parties and spoke of a fight between Rukira residents. She recalled that the curfew in the hills was fixed at 9 p.m.”

Those who exceed these hours are considered criminals”. The governor warns that she will not tolerate meetings held after 6 p.m., adding that those who will be caught will be put in the hands of justice. She calls on the citizens not to do a mob justice. ” That’s why many people who have been involved in this fight are currently in the hands of justice,” she says.

Eye for eye, tooth for tooth

Analysis by Agnès Ndirubusa

People’s fears start taking concrete form. A step was taken. A few days ago, opponents were arrested, beaten, abused without flinching. However with what happened in Butihinda, it seems clear that things are going in the logic of confrontation. The youth from the ruling party will no longer be allowed to do what they want. Other opponents have expressed their rage. Agathon Rwasa is currently considered as the bête noire of the power.
Like Amizero y’Abarundi coalition that this former president of FNL party has formed with some leaders of UPRONA party of the opposition, CNL is scary. And some zealous militants of the ruling party have not yet digested the approval of this party.

The establishment of the organs of CNL party on Saturday, April 20 cut the ground from under the feet of those who put forward the argument of non-recognition of the party in 12 provinces.” An excuse, Agathon Rwasa said, fearing that the situation would not change even if the party organs were set up. The clashes in Rukira area seem to prove him right.

At this stage, the power is confronted with this situation: cooling down the situation by calling for calm and restraint, doing more for the opening of the political space, promoting political tolerance for better elections by giving opponents equal chance to compete or else leave the situation as it is with the risk of a general conflagration and loss of control of the situation.

The confrontations in Butihinda are judged by some as the incident that went wrong and there is therefore “no need crying wolf”…except that big crises started with less than that…

Written by Agnès Ndirubusa and translated by

Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana