FNL Bujumbura Chief of Staff in custody - JUSTICE NOW!
(but what was he doing in possession of UN uniforms?)
Nzabampema, who was paraded before reporters on Thursday, said his aide got the uniforms from a Burundian working for the South African contingent.
During ONUB's weekly news conference on Thursday, ONUB spokesman Penangnini Toure said although the uniforms belonged to ONUB's South African and Nepalese soldiers, "how the uniforms got into the hands of the FNL combatants needs to be clarified".
Saying that the uniforms alone could not prove ONUB's collaboration of with the FNL, Toure said the UN had begun investigations to identify the UN personnel through which the uniforms passed to the FNL.
This was not first incident linking OUNB troops to the FNL. Niyoyankana said in July 2004, the army seized munitions made in South African from FNL combatants it had captured, "but the South African contingent denied any involvement".
From Reuters - BURUNDI: Army probes source of UN "military uniforms" in rebel hands
The first ever arrest of a senior FNL leader is a major step towards justice.
FNL Bujumbura Chief of Staff Aloys Nzabampema has command responsibility for the troops that carried out the August 13th 2004 Gatumba massacre, which was a "crime against humanity" under international law.
As a senior FNL figure, Nzabampema is also implicated in the group's widespread and systematic campaign of civilian massacres, including the December 28th 2000 "Titanic Express" ambush. The Burundian authorities must look at the evidence for his involvement in this campaign, which also constitutes a "crime against humanity".
The Burundian authorities reportedly found uniforms belonging to the United Nations Burundi mission (ONUB) at the house where Nzabampema was arrested. The UN must investigate this thoroughly and publicly, and punish any officials found to have collaborated with Palipehutu-FNL.
We urge the Burundian authorities to treat Nzabampema humanely.
We urge the international community to lobby the Burundian government to prosecute Nzabampema for his crimes, and to demand an explanation from the United Nations of why the FNL were in possession of UN uniforms. To support this call:
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Burundi, human rights, Current Affairs, Politics, Africa