October 27, 2019

Four Burundian journalists docked for ‘undermining state security’

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Four journalists and their driver were charged in Burundi on Saturday with undermining national security judicial sources said, after being arrested while covering fighting with rebels from neighbouring DR Congo.

The Burundian reporters were detained on Tuesday while reporting in Bubanza, in the country’s northwest, prompting calls from free press groups for their immediate release.

The journalists, from the Iwacu newspaper, one of the last independent publications in Burundi, were detained along with their driver while trying to speak to residents fleeing fighting between rebels and national forces.

At least 14 members of the RED-Tabara, an organisation based in eastern DR Congo headed by a Burundian opposition figure, were killed in the violence, the first of its kind in Burundi since 2017.

The reporters and their driver faced court in Bubanza on Saturday, where prosecutor Clément Ndikuriyo accused them of “complicity in undermining the internal security of the state,” the police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

“The five were then taken to the central prison in Bubanza where they were imprisoned,” he added. (AFP)