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Burundi journalist arrested, feared tortured

07 June 2016, 08:03

Bujumbura - A Burundian journalist has been arrested by the country's dreaded National Intelligence Service, and it is feared he is being tortured, the director of an independent radio station said on Monday.

Egide Ndayisenga of Bonesha FM was arrested on Sunday while visiting friends in Western Cibitoke Province, Patrick Nduwimana said. Two friends with him were arrested and later released.

Ndayisenga had sought refuge in Rwanda last year when the station was bombed and those suspected of opposing President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third term feared they were being hunted down, Nduwimana said. Ndayisenga recently returned to the East African country.

Burundian Police Deputy Spokesman Moise Nkurunziza said he was still verifying whether Ndayisenga was arrested and why. The arrest of Ndayisenga is a continuation of the harassment and silencing of independent journalists in Burundi, said Lambert Nigarura, a prominent lawyer and activist there.

"The government in Burundi does not want the world to know that it's killing its own people, and all independent journalists are in danger," Nigarura said. Both opponents and supporters of the government have been killed in apparent revenge attacks.

Bonesha FM was one of the independent media outlets shut down in May 2015, accused of conspiring with the generals who attempted to overthrow the president during violent protests against his bid for a third term. He was re-elected in July.

The violence has left more than 400 people dead and forced more than 260 000 to flee the country, according to the United Nations.

Bonesha FM has continued to operate a website with stories about the country. 

- AP


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