Five people have been killed, four of them shot dead by a police officer in a bar in Gatumba in the first week of March. The body of the fifth was found in Giharo commune (Rutana).
A police officer shot and killed four people in a bistro in the Gatumba area, Mutimbuzi commune, Bujumbura, on the evening of March 2, 2019, according to the human rights monitoring group, SOS-Torture/ Burundi. Witnesses said that Leopold Nizigiyimana, who was in plain clothes got into a brawl with customers as well as a woman. He returned to the Gatumba Police Station to wear his uniform and take his service weapon.
He shot into the crowd, killing the four. Gatumba police said the officer had been arrested and would be charged in the Bujumbura High Court on Monday, March 4, 2019. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The man whose body was found on Muzye Hill, Giharo Commune, Rutana on March 3, 2019 is believed to have been killed by unknown assailants. Residents and local administration officials could not immediately identify the victim. Sos-Torture / Burundi noted that the body was buried without identification. No suspects had also been identified.
Additionally, three people were injured during the attacks in Gitega and Rutana. Unidentified individuals attacked patrons of a bar on Gerangabo Hill, Rwisabe Zone, Mutaho Commune, Gitega Province on the evening of March 5, 2019.
Witnesses said Didace Bizimana (bar skewer salesman) was shot in the belly and Anitha Murekerisoni was injured as she attempted to flee. Mutaho police have not identified any suspects.
Also, unknown assailants attacked the house of a man nicknamed Nterena’s on Ngarama Hill, Mpinga Kayove Commune, Rutana, on the evening of March 6, 2019. His relatives said the victim lost three fingers in the attack but police have not yet identified or arrested any suspects.
Meanwhile, opposition activists for the National Congress for Liberation (CNL) opposition party were roughed up by Imbonerakure militia in Cibitoke and 12 of them were arrested in Gitega. Administration officials tore up the flags and signs of the Front for Democracy in Burundi party (FRODEBU) before breaking up two meetings organised by its members.
Administrative officials repeatedly trample on the political rights and freedoms of opposition members. The chief of the Gitaba zone and Makamba province broke up a meeting of members of the FRODEBU party on March 3, 2018. Witnesses report that he seized flags and party placards from them.
The Chief of Birima Hill, Mabanda Commune, Makamba, similarly barred FRODEBU activists who had gone to meet, even though the party’s representatives had written to commune administrators in Makamba and Mabanda informing them of the meetings, time and venue as required by the law.
Witnesses said that local administration officials were accompanied by members of the Imbonerakure militia associated with the ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD).
Separately, members of the Imbonerakure militia reportedly tortured Jonas Kubwayo, Pierre Ndikuriyo and Ntirandekura on Cunyu Hill, Buganda Commune, Cibitoke Province on the evening of March 6, 2019. Victims’ relatives said the militia attacked them at home and beat them with batons. The three were in such a critical state as to require their admission to hospital. No suspect has been arrested despite the victims clearly identifying their attackers, among them their leader nicknamed Ndakugarika.
Meanwhile, police arrested 12 people on Gerangabo Hill, Mutaho Commune, Gitega on March 7, 2019 for alleged illegal possession of weapons. Witnesses said that those arrested were all activists of the CNL opposition party. Those arrested were taken to the prison at Gitega police station even though no weapons were seized after a search of their homes.