9 October 2017

Burundi: Some Members of Ruling Party Youth Wing Accused of Mistreating Kanyinya Residents

Inhabitants of Kinyinya I hill from Gatumba area in Mutimbuzi commune of the Bujumbura province, denounce the tortures inflicted by members of the ruling party youth wing when conducting night patrols. They criticize local authorities for not taking the problem seriously.

"We are tired of being tortured, the authorities must take the problem seriously," say inhabitants of Kinyinya I in Gatumba area. They accuse the members of the joint security committee in Kinyinya to mistreat them when conducting night patrols that start from7:30 to 1: am. "It is not even a mixed committee, it is composed only of members of the ruling party's youth wing 'Imbonerakure'," says J.K, a resident of Kinyinya I.

"When we meet them at night they beat us, they tell us to sit in the mud until the end of the patrol," adds G.S, his neighbor. "One has to pay money to be released," says S.B., another resident of Kinyinya.

These Kinyinya residents accuse Butoke, the representative of the ruling CNDD-FDD on Kinyinya I Hill, Innocent Harerimana aka Mvubu, Samson aka Kiyoka and another one known as Veterinaire of mistreating them. "They are responsible for these human rights violation. Local authorities can do nothing against them. They are stronger than administration authorities, "the local inhabitants say.

When they arrest people and that the latter try to resist, Butoke, Mvubu and Veterinaire call agents of the National Intelligent Service (SNR) or the police directly and police or SNR vehicles come immediately. "The arrested people are shipped manu militari. They deplore the fact that these Imbonerakure falsely accuse political opponents to settle their accounts. "This area is sensitive because of the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is dangerous for political opponents, "says another inhabitant.

"It no longer happens"

Another inhabitant says Kanyinya residents are forced to pay a monthly contribution asked by local authorities. "Each family must pay Burundian Francs (BIF) 300 to support these joint safety committees," he says. "If one sells a plot of land for more than BIF one million, he must pay a BIF 5000 contribution. Less than one million, one pays BIF 4000," says another Kinyinya resident.

These people complain that they do not understand why they have to pay while there are security forces in charge of security. "Why do we pay to people who beat us and steal our goods?" says R.M.

"These contributions are paid by all people from Kinyinya hill. This is to buy them airtimes so they can alert security forces in case of a problem, "says Hussein Ntahetwa, head of the Gatumba area.

Concerning the accusations made against the Imbonerakure, he rejects them. "That does no longer happen," says Hussein.

He says the members of the joint security committees, who do not behaved appropriately, are punished.

For him, those who make such remarks aim at tarnishing Gatumba image. He calls on Gatumba people to lodge complaints to the police when they are victims of ill-treatment. When interviewed, Butoke did not want to react on these allegations against him.

Fabrice Manirakiza translated by Lorraine Josiane Manishatse

Burundi

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