Burundi arrests senior opposition politician over ‘armed gangs’ link

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza attends the ruling Conseil National pour la Defense de la Democratie - Forces pour Defense de la Democratie (CNDD-FDD) party extraordinary congress in Gitega Province, Burundi, August 20, 2016. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza attends the ruling Conseil National pour la Defense de la Democratie – Forces pour Defense de la Democratie (CNDD-FDD) party extraordinary congress in Gitega Province, Burundi, August 20, 2016. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana

The head of one of Burundi’s opposition parties has been arrested for collaborating with “armed gangs”, police said on Thursday, joining a list of activists and political figures detained since the start of a political crisis.

Gervais Niyongabo, chairman of FEDES-SANGIRA, was detained in the southern Makamba region on Wednesday, police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye wrote on his Twitter account.

Niyongabo had been one of the few opposition leaders still working inside the central African nation – many others have fled to neighboring states and Europe.

Burundi has been mired in political crisis and sporadic violence for more than a year, triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term in office, which he secured in a disputed election in July 2015.

Opponents accuse the president of violating the constitution and a peace deal that ended a civil war in 2005. The government accuses opponents of fomenting unrest, and accuses them of backing rebel groups, which officials call “armed gangs”.

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SOURCES: News Now/Reuters News Agency

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About Cholo Brooks 11433 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.