Bunyoni affair: the commander of the riot unit replaced

Bunyoni affair: the commander of the riot unit replaced

It was the minister for internal affairs and security who decided that Police colonel Désiré Uwamahoro, commander for the controversial riot squad (BAE), be replaced by another colonel. Jonathan Sindayihebura was assigned until Monday, April 24 to the API (Support for the protection of institutions). INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Police colonel Désiré Uwamahoro is detained in the central prison of Murembwe in the province of Rumonge (south-west of Burundi) since April 21.

He was transferred there after spending a week in the SNR (National Intelligence Service) cell in the economic capital Bujumbura. The officer is prosecuted in the Bunyoni affair, our sources say.

“The president had ordered that the guards be removed from the former prime minister after his dissmisal. Returning from his visit to the United States, he found that his orders had not been followed completely. He even lost his temper against the prime minister in a meeting at the palace. When his wishes were carried out, Désiré Uwamahoro arranged, of course, in agreement with other high-ranking police officers, to assign many policemen to a position not far from the residence of Bunyoni (south of Bujumbura). By the way, they were responsible for watching over the security of Bunyoni but with an official mission to secure the area”, say sources familiar with the matter.

Colonel Uwamahoro has just been replaced as commander of the Riot Squad. In November 2016, he was dismissed following a case of illicit sale of gold before being reinstated and decorated by former President Pierre Nkurunziza.

He and his unit are suspected of having committed several blunders and serious human rights violations in the neighborhoods which demonstrated against another controversial term of the late President Pierre Nkurunziza in 2015 and in the years that followed in the commercial city Bujumbura in particular and in certain localities of the province of Bujumbura.

An order from the minister for internal affairs and security appointing his successor to the post of commander of the anti-riot squad reached SOS Médias Burundi on Tuesday morning. Sources at the police headquarters have confirmed this.

Police Colonel Désiré Uwamahoro and his successor both come from two former Hutu rebel factions of the CNDD, the root of the CNDD-FDD, the party in power today since 2005 thanks to the Arusha (Tanzania) peace agreement and reconciliation of August 2000.

The BAE is one of the specialized units of the PNB (Burundi National Police). This elite unit is made up of those loyal to the government who were carefully chosen to quell the spring 2015 protest against another term of the late President Pierre Nkurunziza. It was created that year.

The Burundian law stipulates he should be tried by a court of appeal, as a senior officer. In his case, it must be that of Mukaza (center of the economic capital Bujumbura) where his unit is based.

If he spends six months in custody, he will be automatically revoked from the PNB, according to the law in force in the small East African nation.

Until now, the crimes of which he is accused have not yet been revealed by the Burundian justice.

But last Wednesday, the Burundian internal affairs and security minister Martin Ninteretse told journalists that “[…] for Désiré Uwamahoro, he is being prosecuted by the general prosecutor of the republic’s office” without elaborating.

Previous Bunyoni-affair: it's a war between two titans (Frédéric Bamvuginyumvira)
Next Meheba (Zambia): refugees ordered to return to the camps