4 July 2017

Burundi: Police Dismantle Criminal Groups in Bujumbura

Criminal groups that had been wreaking havoc in Bujumbura from the beginning of this year have been dismantled, the police say.

The police showed to journalists on Monday evening at the headquarters of the National Intelligence Service (SNR) arrested members of "dismantled criminal groups that had been "involved in armed robbery, murder, and theft in Bujumbura from January."

The Spokesman for the Police, Pierre Nkurikiye, said among the criminals were those who ambushed civilians and broke into houses to steal.

In one incident, construction workers were ambushed and robbed of their phones and money in January.

In May, a woman was robbed of her BIF 6 million as she was going home in Kinama area, northern Bujumbura, in the evening. The attackers exploded a grenade to scare her off.

The police also say among the criminals are those who murdered a retired serviceman who worked at the central bank. The spokesman for the police says the criminals confessed they closely followed him from the bank thinking he had much money on him.

They shot him when he got home in Kinindo area in Bujumbura to only find out he had BIF 200 thousands.

The police also showed a trio with storage batteries stolen from cell sites of Econet Leo mobile telephone operator.

The background of the criminals couldn't be known except for one who was identified as a former soldier who had been dismissed from the army.

The arrested criminals were ten operating in three groups. They police seized arms two groups used.

"These who have been arrested are going to be sent to court to face justice", said Nkurikiye. "The police are actively searching for the remaining members of the groups. They will be arrested soon."

Over the last months, criminal incidents have intensified in Bujumbura and in other parts of the country worsening the already unstable situation due to political tensions.

Grenade attacks have occurred mainly in the northern area of Kamenge, killing and wounding a number of civilians.

Armed robbery, homicide, and ambushes on roads have also been reported in different parts of the country.

Local and international human rights organisations often express their concern over security and human rights situation in Burundi. The government claims the situation is improving and that criminal incidents should not be used as the evidence of human rights violations.

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