The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the welfare of Burundian journalist Jean Bigirimana. The journalist’s news outlet says he has not been seen or heard from since July 22.
Bigirimana, a reporter with the independent weekly newspaperIwacu, formerly with the pro-government radio station Rema FM, left his home in the capital Bujumbura around lunch time on July 22, after receiving a phone call from a source in the country’s national intelligence service, Iwacu reported. He has not been seen or heard from since.
The Associated Press, citing Bigirimana’s wife, reported that the journalist was arrested by the National Intelligence Service and that his family fears he is dead. Godeberthe Hakizimana told The Associated Press that her husband left home for Bugaramana in the central province of Muramvya. He did not return despite saying that he would be back for dinner, Iwacureported.
CPJ was unable to independently confirm that the journalist was arrested or that his life is in danger. However, Human Rights Watch has documented a pattern of abductions, arrests, torture, and killings of civil society activists, journalists, and others by government forces, armed opposition groups, and unknown assailants since April 2015, when protests broke out in response to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term. CPJ is aware of at least 100 journalists who have fled Burundi since the mass protests of April 2015 and the ensuing violence. READ MORE OF THIS STORY
SOURCES: NewsNow/Premium Times/