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Burundi suspends activities of opposition party MSD

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- The Burundian government has suspended activities of the Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) “for announcing a plan to create a rebel group,” a senior official said Wednesday.

Home Affairs and Civic Education Ministry Spokesman Therence Ntahiraja said the ministry had suspended activities of the MSD for six months.

“Offices of the party countrywide are not authorized to open during the suspension period,” Ntahiraja said.

According to him, the MSD has been, since 2013, violating the East African country’s national constitution and the law on political parties stipulating that “no registered party is allowed to create a rebel group.”

“Recently, we heard Alexis Sinduhije (MSD chairman) announcing on some radio stations that his party is going to set a rebel group that will combat the government until he captures the country,” Ntahiraja said.

He added that some people who surrendered or who were arrested during or after the protests against another candidature of the Burundian president in 2015 admitted that Sinduhije had recruited them for the rebel group that would be formed outside Burundi.

The MSD is among the country’s main opposition parties that have not so far been divided into wings.

Its chairman Sinduhije has lived in exile since 2014 for his fierce criticisms against the Burundian government.

In March 2014, the MSD was suspended for four months following violent clashes between the party youth and police agents at the party headquarters in the capital.

The party was accused of “inciting party militants to acts of revolt, hatred and violence.”


Burundi army spokesman denies mass desertions of soldiers

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- The Burundian defense and war veterans ministry Thursday denied mass desertions of its soldiers, saying only about 30 soldiers deserted since 2015 due to political manipulations.

"There are rumors saying over 600 soldiers have deserted from the Burundian army.

"These rumors don’t indicate when the desertions took place.

"Maybe this figure comprises of soldiers who retired or who left the army since its creation," Burundian Army Spokesman Gaspard Baratuza said.

According to him, there is a "small number of soldiers" who were manipulated by "ill-intended politicians" and deserted the army in 2015.

"They are about 30 soldiers.

"It’s a meaningless figure that can not scare the army," Baratuza said.

Some media outlets earlier this week reported that between 600 and 2,000 soldiers had deserted the Burundian army since 2015.

Burundi has plunged into a crisis since April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term in violation of the national constitution and the 2000 Arusha Agreement that ended a decade-long civil war.

More than 500 people in Burundi have been killed and over 300,000 people fled to neighboring countries since the outbreak of the crisis..

Burundi senate urges creation of commission to stop human trafficking

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- Burundian senators on Thursday called for creating a commission to work with mainly Arab countries to curb human trafficking.

The call was made as Burundian foreign minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe was invited to the parliament upper chamber to answer senators’ questions on human trafficking reported on some Burundian women working in Arab countries mainly Oman and Saudi Arabia.

"The commission to be set up would ensure that Burundian people working in those Arab countries are enjoying good working conditions.

"The commission would also ensure that Burundian agents working in those countries have return tickets and are in contact with Burundian diplomatic missions in those counties," Burundian Senate President Reverien Ndikuriyo said during the debate.

According to him, unemployed Burundian people can get hired in those countries if the employment is well-organized.

Nyamitwe said monitoring every Burundian national working in Arab countries was sometimes difficult due to the shortage of financial means.

Human trafficking is a serious issue in Burundi according to organizations in charge of children’s rights promotion.

By mid June 2016, the Burundian police had arrested seven people over human trafficking and identified 11 companies involved in human trafficking in the country.

The arrested persons included three Burundians and four Kenyans.

Four of the 11 companies or organizations involved in human trafficking are based in Burundi, four in Saudi Arabia, two in Oman, and one in Kenya.

The four Burundian companies had been collaborating with the remaining seven foreign companies in the human trafficking business.

Police said that since April 2016, over 280 people, mostly girls, had fallen victim to human trafficking.

The Burundian police suspected that those girls engaged in sex work after they arrive at their destinations.


Burundi police seize arms hidden in house ceiling

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- Burundian police said they on Tuesday night seized arms hidden in the ceiling of a house at Cibitoke in the north of Bujumbura.

“It was around 22:00 when a man warned a police post that arms were uncovered in the ceiling of a house while a technician was detecting an electric default,” Burundian Police Deputy Spokesman Moise Nkurunziza said Wednesday.

Nkurunziza said security forces uncovered two guns, four grenades and 90 ammunitions. Investigations have started to identify who hid those arms and why he did it.

Nkurunziza said early investigations revealed that the occupant of the house was an army officer.

Those arms were uncovered from a neighborhood where protests against the third term of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza took place in 2015.

Burundi plunged into a crisis since April 2015 when Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term in violation of the national constitution and the 2000 Arusha Agreement that ended a decade-long civil war.

Burundi closes “irregular” clinics in capital

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- At least seven private clinics and 13 private centers selling medical eyeglasses were closed Wednesday for operating irregularly in the Burundian capital Bujumbura.

Officials at the East African country’s public health and AIDS control ministry supervised the operation.

Seven clinics were closed in the north of Bujumbura, whereas 13 centers manufacturing and selling medical eyeglasses in the city center were closed.

Patients and other hospitalized patients were taken out of the targeted health structures during the operation and padlocks were put on doors.

“Here, patients are received and treated without paying caution money.

"But big hospitals cannot admit patients if they do not pay caution money.

"Medical services are cheap here,” a sick woman who requested anonymity at Saint Luke clinic at Buterere complained.

“We have closed those clinics because they operate irregularly.

"They do not fulfill all the requirements of a health structure and we had given them enough time in order to correct irregularities,” said Providence Munezero, General Inspector at the Burundian Public Health and AIDS Control Ministry.

She indicated that irregularities are notably lack of qualified personnel, poor infrastructure or lack of adequate equipment.

“The operation will continue in other clinics and health structures countrywide,” Munezero said.



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