Burundi, Rwanda trade barbs over arrested ‘spy’

Pierre Nkurikiye, Burundi Police Spokesman

Pierre Nkurikiye, Burundi Police Spokesman

Rwanda and Burundi have yet again engaged a dispute over reports that the Burundian authorities have arrested a Rwandan soldier who, according to Burundian officials had been on a mission to “destabilize” the conflict-ravaged East African nation.

Following media reports that the Burundian military on Saturday arrested a Rwandan soldier, Corporal Rucyahintare Cyprien along Burundi, Tanzania border, the Rwandan military dismissed the reports and spying allegations as baseless disowning the captured soldier.

“The RDF (Rwanda Defence Force) has no missing soldiers, no such name exists in the RDF,” the Rwandan Military Spokesman Joseph Nzabamwita told the AFP.

Rwanda’s response came 24 hours after the Burundian Police paraded Mr. Rucyahintare before the media and accusing their northern neighbour of fuelling the 11-month conflict.

“The aim is to destabilise our country. It’s another proof of destabilisation of our country by our neighbour Rwanda,” said Pierre Nkurikiye, Burundi Police Spokesman Saturday.

Relations between Burundi and Rwanda have lately worsened thanks to Burundi pointing a finger at Kigali for recruiting and training Burundian refugees in Rwanda with the aim of launching a rebellion against the Burundian government.

The UN and other advocacy groups have also issued reports pinning Rwanda on training Burundian refugees, but Rwanda has repeatedly denied the “childish” allegations.