Burundi radio journalist beaten, detained on duty by security forces

Burundi radio journalist beaten, detained on duty by security forces

A Burundi journalist working for Radio France Internationale (RFI) was beaten and detained by security on Sunday while he was covering the assassination of a top general in the capital Bujumbura, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports this week.

Esdras Ndikumana was detained while he was photographing the scene at which General Adolphe Nshimiramana was killed in a drive-by shooting, the New York-based media watchdog said, quoting local reports.

He was held for roughly two hours in their offices in the city, reports said.

Ndikumana, who was accused of being a journalist ‘enemy’, said agents beat him on the back, legs, and soles of his feet, and then released him and sent him to a hospital for treatment.

He was not charged.

“The government in Burundi must allow journalists for local and international media to cover the news without any fear of arrest or violence,” CPJ East Africa representative Tom Rhodes said in a statement.

“We call on authorities to investigate this attack on Esdras Ndikumana and hold the perpetrators to account.”

Army General Nshimiramana, the regime No 2 and a close ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza, was assassinated just a week after the controversial elections that brought Nkurunziza in power.

Burundi is in turmoil after Nkurunziza’s candidacy for a third term in office has been described as unconstitutional.

Journalists have been attacked since the violence began, with at least five radio stations attacked during the attempted coup in mid-May.

One newspaper also stopped publishing after it received threats.

More than 100 people have already been killed in the violence.


A police water-cannon disperses women demonstrators as they try to march to the town centre of Bujumbura. Gildas Ngingo/AFP

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