At least 8 returnees, generally from the Tutsi ethnic group, have been held in the dungeons of the prosecution in Kirundo (northern Burundi) since last Wednesday. They were apprehended during a joint operation by police, intelligence and Imbonerakure youths at the Rutabo and Rusarasi IDP site. It is in the municipality of Busoni. They are accused of illegal possession of weapons or collaboration with rebels. The interested parties reject the allegations and speak of “false accusations targeting Tutsis”. Two other returnees who were targeted returned to exile in Rwanda. (SOS Media Burundi)
Of the eight individuals in detention, six returned from Mahama camp in Rwanda. The operation in which they were arrested took place last Wednesday. “The police and intelligence gathered young people from the CNDD-FDD party to conduct a search in the 1993 Rutabo IDP site located in the Murore area. They said they were looking for weapons, “say witnesses.
During the search, police claimed to have discovered an AK-47 in the household of Innocent Ngabonziza who had recently returned from Rwanda. The latter, however, rejected the charges. He explained that the rifle was taken there and dropped off by police at the same time they were searching his house.
Mr. Ngabonziza and five other people were arrested. They are accused of illegally possessing weapons or collaborating with Burundian rebels and providing intelligence to Rwanda.
Not far from the communal office in the Rusarasi site, the police arrested two men there, including a teacher at a basic school in the locality.
A situation at the origin of a second exile
According to local sources, returnees mainly from Rwanda are afraid. Some of them have already fled again. “For example, two returnees who had received information about the plan of their arrest fled again to Rwanda. The arrests targeting mainly Tutsi from Mahama camp do not bode well. The Tutsis are threatened because of false allegations, ”residents regret.
The families of those arrested are asking the authorities to protect them against what they call “ethnic discrimination”.
President Évariste Ndayishimiye and the Minister in charge of Security and Home Affairs keep calling on the inhabitants of areas hosting returnees and the authorities at the base to avoid any action that could discriminate against returnees, which is not the case in several provinces.
Returnees who have chosen to return to the camps in Tanzania have told SOS Médias Burundi that they are suspected of collaborating with the enemies of Burundi and of having a lot of financial means granted by the UNHCR (High Commissioner for Refugees) which, according to them can in certain situations lead to physical elimination.
The returnees who recently returned to the three main camps in Tanzania and who spoke to our reporters come from the southwest and eastern provinces of the country.