29 December 2017

Burundi: Agathon Rwasa Worries About His Security

Agathon Rwasa, the chairman of the coalition of "Amizero y'Abarundi" and First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly says he is deeply concerned about his security as he continues to be persecuted.

On 27 December, the agents of the National Defense Forces told him that his security guards had been removed from him. He says all of his soldiers were affected elsewhere but he refused to let them leave their posts because he didn't know the motives behind that.

The First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly confirms that he has been receiving threats since the last round of Burundi peace talks held in Arusha, Tanzania from November 27 to December 8, 2017.

The Chairman of the coalition of independent politicians "Amizero y'Abarundi", says he would be persecuted following his position to form the government of national unity in the previously held peace talks between Burundians. "Since then, I am considered as working for western countries", he says.

Agathon Rwasa appeals to the government to stop his harassment. "It is counterproductive", he says.

His guard is composed of soldiers from the Special Brigade in charge of protecting institutions [BSPI] and police officers from the Police Unit in charge of protecting Institutions [API]. The withdrawal only concerns the soldiers.

In June 2010, Agathon Rwasa, former leader of the National Liberation Front [FNL] went into hiding, fearing to be arrested as he was accused of destabilizing the country. In July 2015, he was elected as the first Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.

Colonel Gaspard Baratuza, the spokesperson for the National Defense Forces says the removal of security guards from the First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly aims at harmonizing the guard of all State institutions. "All high officials starting from the Speaker of the National Assembly and Senate, like other personalities, are guarded by police agents", he says.

Baratuza says the soldiers will be replaced by police agents. "His security guards did not change at all. He will receive the same number of security guards as before", he says adding that soldiers are currently being removed from all small military positions to be trained to secure the country's borders.

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