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Burundi: "Disappearance" / fear of extrajudicial execution

, N° d'index: AFR 16/031/1997

Paul Sirahenda, member of parliament and FRODEBU, Hamissi Ndimurukundu, driver: On 3 August 1997, the burnt out car of Paul Sirahenda and his driver Hamissi Ndimurukundo was found near the Tanzanian border. Neither man has been seen since and there are fears that they have been "disappeared" by members of the Burundi security forces.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 16/31/97
EXTRA 109/97 "Disappearance" / Fear of extrajudicial execution 6 August 1997
BURUNDIPaul Sirahenda, member of parliament, member of FRODEBU
Hamissi Ndimurukundo, driver
On 3 August 1997, the burnt out car of member of parliament Paul Sirahenda
and driver Hamissi Ndimurukundo was found in Makamba province near the border
with Tanzania. Neither man has been seen since and Amnesty International fears
that they have been “disappeared” by members of the Burundi security forces.
Paul Sirahenda,a member of parliament and member of the Front pour la mocratie
au Burundi (FRODEBU), Front for Democracy in Burundi, a former ruling party
and the party of assassinated president Melchior Ndadaye, left the capital,
Bujumbura, on 1 August and travelled south towards the Tanzania, where he was
going to visit his family. He had the necessary papers to leave the country
and reportedly arrived at the border post at 11pm and obtained a visa. He
is reported to have stayed the night in the area before leaving for Tanzania
the next day.
According to unconfirmed reports from Burundi, Paul Sirahenda was arrested
at Mutobo, Makamba province, close to the border, as he was preparing to leave.
He was driven away in a military jeep to an unknown destination, possibly
to a nearby military camp in Mabanda. Hamissi Ndimurukundo is reported to
have been directed to a military post in Musongati. He has not been seen since
although the burnt out car was found abandoned in the area.
Although no bodies have been found, state radio is reported to have announced
that two men were killed by criminals. It is not known what basis this statement
was made and no investigation is known to have been carried out.
Amnesty International fears that Paul Sirahenda may have been targeted because
of his political opposition to the government and membership of the FRODEBU
party. A pattern of human rights violations - killings, arrest and harassment
of FRODEBU officials has developed. Twenty-two senior FRODEBU officials have
been killed since 1993. Recent attacks on senior FRODEBU
representatives in exile Tanzania have been reported.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The Tutsi-dominated Burundi security forces have a 30-year history of carrying
out human rights violations, often against the civilian population. In the
current civil war, attacks against Hutu members of the civilian population
are often carried out as reprisal for activities by Hutu-dominated armed groups,
who are also responsible for human rights abuses including killings of
civilians.
Although Major Pierre Buyoya promised to end human rights violations when he
came to power after a coup d'état in July 1996, Amnesty International has
documented thousands of cases of extrajudicial execution, "disappearance",
arbitrary arrest and torture. Critics and opponents of the government have
also been harassed, arrested and tortured in a pattern of attacks on political
opponents of the current government, aiming to eliminate effective political
opposition. More than 6,500 civilians, mostly Hutu, including at least 2,600
accused of involvement in massacres in Burundi, are held in various prisons
and detention centres around the country. The majority are held without charge.
2
Torture is reported to be carried out systematically, and with impunity, in
detention centres belonging to the security forces. Deaths in custody are
often reported.
Please note: there is no post (except courier mail) currently getting through
to Burundi.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/courier mail in French or your
own language:
- expressing concern at the "disappearance" of Paul Sirahenda and Hamissi
Ndimurukundo and grave fear for their safety;
- calling for an immediate investigation to establish their whereabouts and
the circumstances of their "disappearance"
- calling on the authorities to bring to justice in accordance with international
standards of fairness officials who are found to have carried out or condoned
human rights violations;
if possible, also:
- express concern at a pattern of human rights violations, including
extrajudicial execution, against members of FRODEBU.
APPEALS TO:
Minister of Justice
Monsieur Terence SINUNGURUZA
Ministre de la Justice et Garde des sceaux
Ministère de la Justice
Bujumbura, Burundi
Fax: 257 21 61 02 (Via the Minister for Human Rights. Please ask for your
fax to be forwarded to the Minister of Justice.)
Telegrams: Ministre Justice, Bujumbura, Burundi
Salutation : Monsieur le Ministre
President
Major Pierre Buyoya
Président de la République
Présidence de la République
Bujumbura, Burundi
Fax: 257 22 7490
Telegrams: Major Buyoya, Bujumbura, Burundi
Salutation: Monsieur le Président/Dear President
Minister of Defence
Lieutenant-Col. Firmin SINZOYIHEBA
Ministre de la Défense Nationale
Ministère de la Défense
Bujumbura, Burundi
Fax: 257 22 56 86
Telegrams: Ministre Defense, Bujumbura, Burundi
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre
Minister for Internal Affairs and Public Security
Lt-Col. Epitace BAYAGANAKANDI
Ministre de l'Intérieur et de la Sécurité Publique
Ministère de l'Intérieur
Bujumbura, Burundi
Fax: 257 21 19 82 / 21 78 18
3
Telegrams: Ministre Interieur, Bujumbura, Burundi
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre
COPIES TO:
Minister for Human Rights, Social and Women’s Affairs
Madame Christine RUHAZA
Ministre des Droits de la Personne humaine, de l'Action sociale et de la
Promotion de la femme
Bujumbura, Burundi
Fax: 257 21 61 02
and to diplomatic representatives of BURUNDI accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 18 September 1997.

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