5 January 2018

Burundi: About 5,000 Families to Be Evicted From Their Lands On Kizina Hill

Photo: Daily Monitor

More than 5000 families from Kizina 1 and 2 sectors of Gihanga commune in Bubanza province claim to be victims of injustice. They say they have been expropriated from their lands which were later attributed to an unknown person called "Joseph Gahushi". The residents of the locality say they cannot go to their fields for fear of being brought before the court.

"Never have-we seen that so-called Gahushi, a house he erected here or a supervisor of his lands", says an old man living in Kizina 1.

Suddenly, he says, the residents of the locality have seen that their lands which brought them into conflict with a certain Pasteur Mutore were attributed to a certain Joseph Gahushi. "There is now a group of people that come to intimidate us whenever we go to our fields. The security guards denounce us to Bubanza Prosecutor," he says.

They say they are likely to die of hunger and add that their children have decided to sleep in the maize fields belonging to other people so that the latter may give them what to eat. "The decision of the minister would be in contradiction with the one of the court of cassation which had allowed us to live here", he says.

They call the minister of justice to cancel the decision to avoid further violent conflicts. "We don't know any land that belongs to Gahushi. We urge the minister of justice to review the decision because there isn't any Gahushi in this locality. These plots of land belong to a farming community," he says.

Jean De Dieu Birikunzira, Kizina hill chief, says he is aware of those people's complaints. He bases his statement on the fact that the Minister of justice did not listen to all parties. "Local people are really frustrated. They should not let their lands be expropriated from them following a correspondence of a minister saying that all people living on 231 ha must leave the lands which were later attributed to one person", he says. "The court of cassation has ruled on this case," he says.

The correspondence of the justice minister Aimé Laurentine Kanyana in May 2017 stated that following different prosecutions between Pasteur Mutore and Joseph Gahushi showed that Mutore claimed to have 200 ha belonging to Gahushi instead of 8 ha that belong to him. Then, said the minister, all residents must be expelled and attribute the land to its owner who is Joseph Gahushi. "Those who bought lands must show evidence to Gahushi family otherwise, they will have to file complaints in court", said Minister Kanyana.

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