Rwanda working behind the scenes to secure release of nationals in Burundi

Rwanda's Justice Minister Johnston Busingye says the two countries are discussing how Rwandans could be released

Rwanda’s Justice Minister Johnston Busingye says the two countries are discussing how Rwandans could be released

The Rwandan Justice Minister Johnston Busingye has said he is engaged in intense diplomatic discussions with his Burundi counterpart to have Rwandan citizens arrested and detained ‘illegally’ by the Burundi government released.

Earlier this month, the Burundi freed 14 of the 30 Rwandans held in Burundi, without divulging details on why the 30 Rwandans were arrested in the first place.

“It is true there are still more Rwandans being held in Burundi. We don’t want this to go the legal way, we want them to be released through diplomatic efforts, and our ambassadors are working tirelessly on this matter” Busingye said Thursday.

Rwandan ambassador to Burundi, Ambassador Amandin Rugira said earlier on that the remaining Rwandans are held in jails and safe havens operated by Burundi intelligence services.

Rwanda is host to more than 89,000 Burundian refugees but the Bujumbura authorities believe Rwanda is somewhat involved in fueling the conflict that has destabilised the central African nation since April.

The continued arrest of Rwandans operating in Burundi may cause more tensions between the two neighbours at a time when Burundi has accused Rwanda of harbouring anti- President Pierre Nkurunziza factions, an accusation that the Kigali government has constantly and vehemently denied.

In July, Burundian authorities revealed an armed group clashed with the army in the commune of Kabarore near the border with Rwanda extending to Bukinanyana commune in Cibitoke.

Eye-witness residents in the area reported seeing an armed group from Rwanda estimated between 300-400 men in military uniform infiltrating into Burundi territory. The Burundian military however, claimed it killed 31 suspected rebels and captured dozens in the heavy gunfight that lasted for 2 days.