Burundian Violence: Police Accused of Using Excessive Force

International body, buy Human Rights Watch has said Burundi police used excessive force in a crackdown on protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s election bid for a third term.

According to the body, witness accounts indicate that police have shot and beaten people, in some cases when they posed no apparent threat on top of closing down a number of radio stations and threatening journalists.

“The Burundian authorities should call a halt to the crackdown on peaceful opponents and critics,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “They should order the police to stop using excessive deadly force, investigate the deaths and beatings of protesters at the hands of police, and hold those responsible for excessive force to account.”

The rights body says that restrictions on movements in the capital, and pervasive fear among the population, have made it difficult to confirm the exact number of victims but notes that based on interviews with medical personnel and other sources, since demonstrations began on April 26, 2015, at least 27 people have been killed or died from wounds inflicted during the demonstrations.

“Others have been killed in separate incidents. More than 300 people have been injured. It is likely that the overall number of dead is higher.”

Thousands of protesters took to the streets after the murder on May 23 of Zedi Feruzi, president of the opposition party Union for Peace and Democracy-Zigamibanga.

However according to Human Rights Watch, the president’s communications adviser, Willy Nyamitwe admitted that in some cases police had used excessive force to quell down the riots.

“There are perhaps policemen who used too much force and others who were misguided. You need to recognize also that demonstrators are committing human rights abuses and they aren’t being reported,” Nyamitwe is quoted to have said.


According to the human rights body, President Nkurunziza’s communications adviser said some policemen had been arrested for using live ammunitions against the demonstrators.

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