Burundi: arrest warrants issued for coup and protest masterminds

Burundi Attorney General Valentin Bagorikunda

Burundi Attorney General Valentin Bagorikunda

The Attorney General of Burundi Valentin Bagorikunda says warrants of arrest have been issued, against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s anti-third term protests’ organisers and planners of the May 13 attempted coup.

In a press conference in Bujumbura Thursday, Bagorikunda, accused opposition and civil society of fueling the massive demonstrations that he called “insurgency” whose aim was to destabilize the institutions of the country.

“The insurgency was organized by people from many horizons, especially organizations rallied in what is known as ‘Halt against the third term’, some media houses, some opposition parties and some independent individuals,” he said.

Mr. Bagorikunda linked the protests with the failed coup saying the architects of both were in constant contact.

“The insurgency was a prelude to the coup d’état of May 13 2015, which was fortunately foiled. From our investigations, it was discovered that organizers of the insurgency were in permanent contact with the military and police coup plotters,” he said, adding that the coup was the ultimate end of the insurgency.

Barikunda also indicated the fact that independent media outlets, namely radios Isanganiro, RPA, Bonesha, and Radio and Television Renaissance, provided airtime to the coup leaders shows they supported the coup attempt.

“We must underline that media and some journalists were among key supporters, not only of the insurgency, but also of the coup plotters,” he said.

Valentin Bagorikunda says several coup plotters have been arrested. He accuses those who managed to escape to foreign countries of stirring criminal acts reported here and there across the country.

Angry protestors torching Burundian national flag

Angry protestors torching the ruling party CNDD-FDD flag

The Attorney General indicated that the public prosecution has evidence recent targeted killings and grenade explosions have been perpetrated by the same organizers and planners of the protests and the failed coup.

He said international warrants of arrests have already been issued while others are underway so as to bring the perpetrators of the insurgency to the Burundian justice system.

Among key charges against them include child recruitment in the insurgency, denying fundamental rights others citizens, assassinations of police officers and civilians accused of being Imbonerakure militia members among others.

Meanwhile as the judiciary is expected to give its report on the assassination attempt of the current Chief of staff General Prime Niyongabo in a few days, no progress has been made in identifying and arresting suspects in the assassination of the former chief of staff Col. Jean Bikomagu, shot dead on August 15 by unidentified gunmen.

There have been arrests of the suspected killers of Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana, the former head of intelligence.