Agathon Rwasa

Ce site web publie les atrocités des rebelles FNL du Burundi et mène une campagne pour traduire en justice le dirigeant des FNL, Agathon Rwasa. Nous essayons aussi de mettre à nue la question d'impunité en génerale. This website aims to highlight atrocities by the Burundian FNL rebels, and campaigns to see FNL leader Agathon Rwasa brought to justice. We also aim to highlight the issue of impunity worldwide.

Friday, July 22, 2005

More pictures from the August 13th 2004 Gatumba massacre

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On August 13, 2004 a force of armed combatants, many of them members of the Forces for National Liberation (Forces pour la Liberation Nationale, FNL), massacred at least 152 Congolese civilians and wounded another 106 at Gatumba refugee camp, near Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. The FNL is a predominantly Hutu rebel movement known for its hostility to Tutsi and the victims were largely Banyamulenge, a group often categorized with Tutsi.

Witnesses described finding charred and bloody bodies at the camp for the Tutsis escaping recent violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"People were sleeping when the attack happened. People were killed as they tried to escape," Eliana Nabaa of the UN mission in Congo said, quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

"The scene is absolutely horrific. There are many people burnt - families, children, women and men burnt," she said".

The attackers... moved towards the refugee camp, playing drums, ringing bells, blowing whistles, and singing religious songs in Kirundi. At least two local residents heard them sing, “God will show us how to get to you and where to find you.” One other heard shouts of “Ingabo Z’Imana,” “[We are] the army of God.” Many reported hearing attackers sing choruses of “Allelluia” and “Amen.”

Even in the midst of the noise and confusion of the attack some refugees did not immediately understand the danger. Some believed the attackers were bandits coming to steal the cows stabled nearby. Others believed those singing the religious songs had come to save them especially since some attackers were shouting “Come, come, we’re going to save you”. Anyone who stopped out the entry of a tent was immediately gunned down, as was one father who sought to save his two children by flight. The attackers, usually only two or three at a time, ripped open the tent flaps and slit the sides of the tent. Often they stayed at the entrance to the tent and either ordered people to come out or just began shooting into the tent. They then threw or shot incendiary grenades that caused the tents to catch fire.

Of the just over 800 refugees, 152 were killed, all Banyamulenge except for fourteen Bembe people. One hundred and six were wounded. Most victims were women and children. Early the next morning a Human Rights Watch researcher went to the site. She found government and international officials preoccupied with determining the cause and extent of the disaster. Ignored by all of them, a child three or four years old stood alone crying in front of a still smouldering tent.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Press under attack again in Burundi

Radio Publique Africain's director has been imprisoned, beaten up and shot at over his work

One of Burundi's only independent radio stations, "Radio Publique Africain" has been taken off the air for two days by the country's "National Communications Council" (CNC). The CNC claimed to be unhappy with the station's coverage of Burundi's recent elections. Earlier this year, Radio Publique Africain was closed for two days after being accused of "offending public morals" by reporting on the rape of an eight-year-old girl.

The ban has been condemned by the international press freedom organisation the Committee to Protect Journalists, who have called on the CNC to lift it "immediately and unconditionally"

A group of Burundian journalists overseas, the "Collectif des Professionnels des Médias de la Diaspora Burundaise" has also spoken out, in an open letter to the CNC, accusing it of being "a body of repression which uses disproportionate sanctions".

Burundi's recent democratic elections were the first since the 1993 assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye plunged the country into a vicious, ethnically-charged civil war.

"Press freedom has been historically related to the emergence of democracy", the letter continues. "It is essential that the media, like other instruments of good governance, is protected".

Radio Publique Africain was launched in early 2001, seeking to promote peace by hiring both Hutus and Tutsis, including ex-combatants, to work on the editorial team. The station's investigative reporting and grassroots approach to issues affecting ordinary Burundians quickly earned it the nickname "the People's Radio."

"We ask the political leaders to answer their concerns: Why are people kept in prison without trial? Why has their land been taken away? Exposing the truth in this way has brought Hutu and Tutsi communities together and made it harder for politicians to manipulate the public", said RPA director Alexis Sinduhije after receiving a press freedom award last year.

In October 2001 Sinduhije was arrested and beaten up after interviewing a South African peacekeeper against the wishes of the Burundian government. In February 2003 armed men broke into Sinduhije's house and murdered his security guard. In September of the same year Radio Publique Africain was taken off the air after broadcasting an interview with a rebel spokesperson. In a show of solidarity, other independent radio stations refused to broadcast any government news or statements until the ban on RPA was lifted.

Burundi's independent media has become increasingly vocal and vibrant in recent years. The development of the internet has seen the appearance of a number of independent Burundian news websites based overseas, outside the control of Burundi's government and the CNC. When the radio journalist Etienne Ndikuriyo was arrested without charge earlier this year, the Burundian online media helped mobilise international opinion, and he was released eight days later.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Burundi's long wait for justice

"Burundi's long wait for justice: BBC - From our own correspondent"

The choice now is whether to try to bring to justice all those involved in more than 40 years of political violence.

Or whether to search only for the ringleaders.

Whether to concentrate on punishing the guilty on all sides, or on trying to reconcile divided populations.

But many Burundians are sceptical of seeing any justice at all.

Political and military leaders who faced each other during the civil war will now sit together in the new parliament and the new united army.

Many fear these leaders have a shared interest in slowing down investigations into the crimes that all sides committed.

Back in Mpamirundi, Domatilla is waiting for the wind to bring back the rains.

She is getting ready to plant again like every year.

She says she is waiting for justice. She wants those who killed her husband and relatives to be punished.

But most of all she says, she wants them to recognise what they did and come to ask her for forgiveness.

"Then I can really be sure they will never try to do the same thing again," she says. "And it is only then I can know my children will be safe."

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

FNL terrorists kill four in Bujumbura

Reuters Alertnet report

Meanwhile the army said eight people were killed on Monday, in violent incidents around the capital Bujumbura.

Army spokesman Adolphe Manirakiza said rebels of the hardline Hutu Forces for National Liberation (FNL) guerrilla movement killed four civilians in their homes, while FNL fighters killed one soldier and wounded four others in two ambushes of army patrols northwest and south of the capital.

He said three fishermen were killed by unidentified armed men on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in southern Burundi.

See also: Tanzania accused of supporting terrorism to destablise Burundi

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Tanzania accused of supporting terrorism to destablise Burundi

JND - Tanzania accused of supporting terrorism to destablise Burundi

The African news website has accused Tanzania of being a state sponsor of terrorism, by helping Hutu-extremists in neighbouring Burundi to destabilise the country's newly-elected government. As widely predicted, Burundi's ruling "Frodebu" party, which has close links to Tanzania, was heavily defeated in this week's elections. The former Hutu rebel group CNDD-FDD, now a multi-ethnic party, won a convincing victory with 58% of the vote. Frodebu polled just 22%.

It was the first national democratic vote since 1993, when a military coup plunged Burundi into a decade-long, ethnically-charged civil war. During the election campaign, CNDD-FDD accused Frodebu of stirring up racial divisions, and of employing members of the Hutu-extremist FNL to kill and intimidate voters. The FNL rebels have remained outside the Burundian peace process, despite the restoration of democracy, and a series of heavy defeats by the Burundian army. On June 16th attackers believed to be members of the FNL massacred six churchgoers in the Muhuta district of Rural Bujumbura. During earlier local elections, the FNL had attacked a polling station, killing a United Nations peacekeeper, and killed several people in "hit and run" attacks on the Burundian capital Bujumbura. Frodebu denied involvement in the violence, but have recently admitted "political collaboration" with the FNL. reports that the Tanzanian government has offered material support to the FNL leader and helped formalise the "unholy alliance" between Frodebu and the FNL:

"With the assistance of the Tanzanians, [FNL leader] Agathon Rwasa has moved his HQ from the hills around Bujumbura, where he was already in difficulty, to the Tanzanian capital Dar Es Salaam, where he can enjoy the protection of the Tanzanian secret service."

"Rwasa, who has nothing more to lose, has accepted that the success of the elections mean political death for the FNL, and their position as 'Hutu defenders' has become obselete."

"But if Rwasa's strategy is merely his own survival, Frodebu's calculation is far more diabolical - they intend to perpetuate Burundi's bloody civil war and state of insecurity, in order to undermine the new institutions."

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Agnes van Ardenne - what planet are you on?!

Agnes van Ardenne: Thought that Agathon Rwasa was just a loveable rogue until August last year.

Speaking after August 2004's Gatumba massacre by Agathon Rwasa's FNL, Dutch Development Minister Agnes van Ardenne said:

"What they did now is totally different from all the attacks in the past. In Gatumba women, children, babies were murdered in a most cruel way, with machetes, guns, and some were burnt alive. They didn't do that before. They attacked the Burundian armed forces until now, and are still doing, but they don't attack vulnerable people - women, children etc., so it's totally new."

Has the talented Mrs Ardenne never read any of the reports produced by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International over the last decade? Did she think that the 21 civilian victims of the December 2000 "Titanic Express" massacre, (and the countless others murdered by the FNL on the roads around Bujumbura) ambushed, robbed, and brutally murdered themselves?

Prior to the Gatumba massacre, the Dutch government had been the Hutu extremist's best friend in Europe. Now that the world has forgotten about Gatumba, and despite Mrs Ardenne's forthright condemnation of the attack, they are again. Are these people really fit to decide the direction of European Union policy in Centre Africa?

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Agathon Rwasa - a strange innocence regained

John Mellor travelled to Burundi to meet the family of Richard Ndereyimana, one of the victims of the bloody attack on the "Titanic Express" bus, which was ambushed en route to Bujumbura on December 28th 2000, and in which Richard's fiancée, Charlotte Wilson, a British citizen, also died. How does this family feel now that Agathon Rwasa, the leader of the group responsible for the massacre, is being feted as an international statesman? The international community, who less than a year ago dubbed Rwasa a "terrorist", suddenly seems to have lost its memory. In this family, despair and fear combine.

Agathon Rwasa, a strange innocence regained

The elderly mother of Richard Ndereyimana lives with her daughter Adrienne in a crowded district of Bujumbura. In the living room of their modest house, she plays with Nana, her young grand-daughter. Adrienne sits beside her, breastfeeding her youngest child. A neighbour has just switched on his radio; it's time for the news in Kirundi on the government-run radio station. The headlines drift through into Adrienne's small living room. The top story tells of "positive developments between the government and Agathon Rwasa, the leader of the Palipehutu-FNL rebels".

The fmaily listens, dejected, to the latest news. For some time, the Burundian authorities have described Agathon Rwasa simply as a "partner in negotiations", to be dealt with like any other. And yet this man is responsible for the deaths of countless innocent people, of whom even the most well-known - the 21 passengers of the "Titanic", and the 152 Congolese refugees slaughtered at "Gatumba" in August 2004, no longer count. Even the large international organisations seem to be suffering from amnesia. Agathon Rwasa, the man previously dubbed a "terrorist" and sidelined by the UN and regional heads of state, has regained, through the unfathomable magic of politics, a strange kind of innocence.

I was waiting for "my children"

It's very difficult for Richard's mother to talk about "my children", as she calls Richard and Charlotte. But her memories are painfully clear as she describes the afternoon in December 2000 when she waited in vain for them.

"Richard was going to introduce us to Charlotte. We'd never met her before. We'd prepared Mukeke fish - Richard's favourite. But we'd also made some chicken in case his girlfriend, this young English girl, didn't like fish. I was looking forward to see my children. It had been raining the whole afternoon" - the elderly mother's voice chokes up.

Charlotte and Richard ate neither fish, nor chicken. The "Titanic Express" bus, which they had boarded in Rwanda, where they both worked, fell into an ambush that afternoon. Adrienne, silent until now, continues the story.

"We found them at the morgue, the next day. Richard had been shot in the head, chest and legs. As for Charlotte-", she stops abruptly - "A Congolese survivor of the massacre told us that Charlotte had offered to give them everything she had if they would spare her life". Adrienne searches for the right words.

"The rebels told her 'we will take all you have and kill you too because your government does nothing for us'"

Adrienne recalls another terrible detail. "They were completely naked; the rebels took everything from them. Everything."

According to eyewitnesses, the Palipehutu-FNL left their "signature" at the scene of the crime. Of the passengers who were released unharmed, all were either Hutus or Congolese - none was Tutsi.

"I asked if we could bury them together", says Richard's mother. Adrienne tells me that her mother didn't want to separate the murdered couple, but they had to explain that Charlotte had her family in England, and her body had to be returned home.

"Tell the Wilsons to carry our voice"

The two women fall silent. They seem to have said everything there is to say. Richard's death remains an open wound. Since that time, his mother's health has slowly declined. She fears for her remaining children. She doesn't understand why those with power in Burundi are so eager to hold meetings with the murderers of "my children".

Several years ago she had to flee her home in the south of Bujumbura because of repeated attacks in the area by Palipehutu-FNL.

"Rwasa took my children, and drove me from my home. I have no place of my own any more; I'm reliant on my daughter - and now they tell me that this man will soon be one of our leaders!"

A look of revolt appears in her eyes for a brief moment, but is gone just as quickly.

Adrienne speaks more forcibly now: "The parents of all those who lost loved ones in the Titanic know each other; we are ready to go to court, but here we are nothing - this place is corrupt and there are killers everywhere. Tell those who are abroad, in Europe, to carry our voice - ask Charlotte's family to tell the world of our distress. We want justice."

In Burundi, this family feels powerless, defenceless against an Agathon Rwasa courted by the international community and who, it's quite possible, will soon be given a powerful government position despite all of his crimes.

As I'm leaving, the elderly mother of Richard Ndereyimana has one more thing to tell me:

"You know that we are a Christian family. Every evening I recite the Lord's Prayer. But at the moment that I say 'Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us', my seven-year-old granddaughter always asks me 'But grandmother, even those who killed our Uncle Richard?'"

"I don't know how I should answer", she tells me.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005 "With help from the Tanzanian secret service, the FNL and Frodebu have made an unholy alliance"

Loosely translated from

"According to a well informed source, the Burundian ruling party Frodebu is planning to pursue an armed struggle following its electoral defeat. As the party, led by Jean Minani, has no armed wing of its own, Frodebu has made a deal with the FNL rebel leader Agathon Rwasa. Following this accord, the fighting will be left to the FNL, with Frodebu as the political branch.

Tanzania, which publicly supports Frodebu, has helped to "facilitate" the deal. With the assistance of the Tanzanians, Agathon Rwasa has already moved his HQ from the hills around Bujumbura, where he was already in difficulty, towards the Tanzanian capital Dar Es Salaam, where he can enjoy the protection of the Tanzanian secret service. The presence of former FDD rebels, who know the FNL and their terrain well, in the new Burundian army, had allowed the army to inflict a series of heavy defeats on Rwasa's forces in Bujumbura-rurale.

The Tanzanian secret service has been actively involved in bringing the FNL and Frodebu together. Rwasa, who has nothing more to lose, has accepted that the success of the elections mean political death for the FNL, and their position as "Hutu defenders" has become obselete. But if Rwasa's strategy is merely his own survival, Frodebu's calculation is far more diabolical - they intend to perpetuate Burundi's bloody civil war and state of insecurity, in order to undermine the new institutions. By these means, the Frodebu-FNL alliance hopes to position itself as the soul "Hutu nationalist" movement. Frodebu has already begun to revive the "victimisation" rhetoric of the FNL.

Thus Jean Minani's men broadcast their inflammatory message that the CNDD-FDD, who defeated them at the ballot box, "is infiltrated by Tutsis", and that the party is "a tool of Rwanda's President Kagame". The next few months look likely to be very disturbed."

If these reports are true, then it seems that Frodebu and Rwasa's FNL are planning to pursue a straightforward terror campaign against a democratically elected government. And if Tanzania is actively supporting this campaign, then they are just as much a "state sponsor of terror" as Afghanistan was under the Taliban.

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"Avec l'aide des services secrets tanzaniens, le Frodebu et le FNL ont conclu un deal diabolique"

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Bujumbura, ce 04 juillet 2005.

Selon une source bien informée, le Frodebu envisagerait de poursuivre la guerre après son échec électoral. Comme le parti de Minani n'a pas une force armée, le Frodebu a conclu un Deal avec Rwasa, mais ce dernier a monnayé très fort sa signature. D'après cet accord, le "terrain", la branche armée serait laissée au FNL, et le Frodebu serait la branche politique.

La Tanzanie qui joue publiquement la carte Frodebu aurait assuré des « facilités ». Ainsi, avec l'aide des tanzaniens, Agathon Rwasa a déjà déplacé son QG des hauteurs de Bujumbura où il était en difficultés vers Dar Es Salaam où il jouit déjà de la protection des services secrets tanzaniens. La présence des anciens des FDD dans la nouvelle FDN, des hommes qui connaissent bien le FNL et le terrain, avait permis de porter des coups sérieux aux positions de Rwasa dans Bujumbura rurale.

Le services secrets tanzaniens sont activement impliqués dans ce rapprochement. Rwasa qui n'a plus rien à perdre a accepté avec plaisir la proposition: l'issue des élections signifiait sa mort politique, son argument de "défendre les Hutu" étant devenu désuet. Si la stratégie de Rwasa est juste pour la survie,le calcul du Frodebu est encore plus diabolique: Il s'agit de perpétuer l'état de guerre, d'insécurité, de façon à rendre impopulaire les nouvelles institutions. A terme cette alliance Frodebu-FNL espère se positionner comme le seul mouvement « nationaliste hutu ». Ce n'est pas pour rien que l'on remarque que le Frodebu a déjà récupéré la rhétorique « victimaire » du FNL.

Ainsi les hommes de Minani font courir le bruit que « le CNDD-FDD est infiltré par les Tutsi », que c'est « un outil » de Kagame, etc. Les prochains mois risquent d'être très perturbés.

John Millor

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Monday, July 04, 2005

"Rwasa est genocidaire"

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par Jean Bosco Ns, frere d'un victime du massacre "Titanic Express"

Chers freres et soeurs, amis et connaissances;

Les Burundais, la communaute internationale et la sous region assistent impuissamant depuis des annees aux differentes exactions qui sont commises contre les populations burundaises et de la sous region par Agathon Rwasa a la tete de son mouvement PALIPEHUTU-FNL. Rwasa hante par le sang des Innocents qu'il a verse avait de se cacher dans un terroir dans Bujumbura rural de facon que certaines gens pansaient qu'il serait mort.

A la grande surprise de tous les gens epris de justice,il a fait dernierement deux sorties en Tanzanie et est retourne dans son terroir sans etre inquite.

La sous region et la communaute internationale doivent etre avisees qu'en laissant un homme comme lui circuler librement,elles donnent un mauvais exemple aux extremistes de tout bord qui cherharaient a faire comme lui!!!!

Rwasa a tue des innocents sans defense:des enfants, des femmes, des veillards,des passagers ont ete elimines sauvagement parce qu'ils etaient des tutsi. Qui va oublier les victimes du bus Titanic qui est tombe sous les embuscades des forces de Rwasa? :pas moi certes.

Les victimes n'avaient qu'un seul tord:avoir du sang tutsi rien que ca! Le recent massacre de Gatumba que les Rwasa ont revendique a demontre leur haine mortelle contre les tutsi.

A Gatumba se trouvaient des camps des refugiens congolais d'ethnies diverses ansi que ceux des Rapatries burundais. Seulement,les camps des banyamulenge qui sont des tutsi congolais furent attaques et des tueries sans nom furent commises.

La communaute internationale et la sous region ont le devoir moral d'aider a punir ces crimes odieux en arretant Rwasa et ses collaborateurs et en les traduisant devant la justice.

Les organisations de defense des droits de l'homme comme : Human Right Watch, L'Amnesty International et bien d'autres devraient faire pression pour qu'aucune amnistie ne soit accordee a ces criminels (Agathon Rwasa et ses collaborateurs) de cette facon, les parents, freres, soeurs et amis des victimes seraient console.

(Le moment viendra ou la verite vaincra j'en suis certain)

Jean Bosco Ns. le frere aine a Richard Ndereyimana tue sauvagement dans le bus Titanic

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Burundi: ``I came to vote for peace, to end the genocide''

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Hutus tipped for victory in Burundi poll - Bangkok Post

`The start was a little difficult in terms of participation,'' said [head of Burundi's electoral commission] Mr Kana, adding that many voters were still wary of the possibility of violence at the polling centres.

`There is a lot of hesitation from the voters, especially in Bujumbura rural and Bubanza,'' he said in reference to last months' election trouble spots, but he expressed hope that more voters would turn up later in the day.

``I came to vote for peace, to end the genocide,'' said Justin Bikebako, a 23-year-old voter in Bujumbura.

Explosions and gunfire disrupted last month's local elections in which one person was killed in violence blamed on the country's lone active National Liberation Forces rebel group.

Monday's legislative elections will see 3,704 candidates from 25 political parties, of which six are former rebel groups, as well as 15 independents battle it out in the country's 100 constituencies.

"I call upon all Burundians to go en masse to the polls and I call upon them not to yield to intimidation. It's their right to vote" - Mcaskie

East African Standard - Fears in Burundi as second voting starts

Burundians vote for a national assembly today under a shadow of violence despite relatively steady progress in a series of democratic elections designed to end 12 years of ethnic conflict.

Burundi’s army and the lone rebel holdouts to the peace process, the Hutu Forces for National Liberation (FNL), clashed this week, killing at least 18 as the army stepped up patrols in anticipation of attacks during the voting.

The head of the United Nations mission to Burundi, Carolyn McAskie, said she was hopeful that the polls would run smoothly, but said violence was a possibility.

"We’ve had assurances from most of the players that there will be no violence," McAskie told Reuters. "The communal elections had to be replayed in six of 129 districts, but frankly that may happen again."

The FNL was blamed for attacks during the June 3 polls for communal, or district, councils, which forced re-votes in constituencies most affected by the violence.

Reuters Alertnet - Burundi votes for national assembly

BUJUMBURA, July 4 (Reuters) - Burundians vote for their national assembly on Monday, a key step toward selecting a president under a peace plan designed to end 12 years of ethnic bloodshed.

The election, the latest in a series of democratic polls this year that have progressed relatively steadily, began after clashes between the army and rebels that killed 18 last week. The military says the rebels are planning to disrupt voting.

The head of the United Nations mission to Burundi, Carolyn McAskie, urged voters to cast their ballot in defiance of any potential threats.

"I call upon all Burundians to go en masse to the polls and I call upon them not to yield to intimidation. It's their right to vote," McAskie told a press conference on Sunday.

"Security is in place. There is no reason to believe that there would be any disturbance."

Polls opened at 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) and were to close at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT).

Independent Online - Former rebels tipped to win Burundi elections

Bujumbura - Burundians vote on Monday in the second of a series of elections, with former Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) rebels tipped to win the first parliamentary poll since 1993 after sweeping last month's local elections.

Monday's elections will see some 3 704 candidates from 25 political parties, of which six are former rebel groups, as well as 15 independents battle it out in the country's 100 constituencies.

The elections will be crucial in determining both the majority in the country's parliament and the eventual selection of Burundi's first post-transitional president on August 19...

The FDD will "win with a wider margin on Monday," a Burundi-based diplomat said on condition of anonymity. They "will have their member as Burundi's head of state."

FDD leader Pierre Nkurunziza declared his interest in the country's top seat earlier this month.

The FDD is Burundi's former main Hutu rebel group which renounced armed struggle to push for representation in the army. It joined the transitional government, where power is equally shared between majority Hutus and minority Tutsis, in November 2003.

All of Burundi's former rebels groups are now part of the transitional government with the exception of the National Liberation Forces (FNL), which have continued to carry out armed raids in and around the capital Bujumbura despite having agreed a truce with the government in May.

The election campaign has been peaceful despite continued tension between the government and the FNL rebels during the week.

"We know that the FNL are intending to disrupt the elections, but we will do everything to make sure the elections are peaceful," the country's army chief Germain Niyoyankana said.

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

British-based airline fuelled Congo terror - Amnesty International calls for an inquiry

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Sunday Times - British-based airline fuelled Congo terror:

REBEL groups terrorising civilians in eastern Congo, where a devastating war marked by widespread atrocities has killed nearly 4m people, are doing so with weapons and ammunition flown to Africa by a British-based airline.

United Nations officials believe the flights breach the UN ban on the shipment of arms that fuel conflict in the region.

African International Airways (AIA), whose offices in Crawley, West Sussex, are two miles from Gatwick airport, made a total of six flights from Tirana, Albania, to the Rwandan capital of Kigali in late 2002 and early 2003, carrying more than 250 tons of arms in DC8 freighter aircraft.

Documents seen by The Sunday Times show that the ultimate recipients of the cargo — more than 5m rounds of machinegun ammunition, pistol ammunition and rocket- propelled grenades — were Rwandan-backed rebel groups based over the border in conflict-ridden eastern Congo. The rebels have killed, tortured and raped and have plundered Congo’s rich natural resources...

Brian Wood, Amnesty International’s research manager on the arms and security trade, said: “The British government says its laws are designed to protect human rights worldwide. That is why we need to have a full and prompt inquiry to uncover the truth about these flights.”

Western support to Rwandan-backed rebels in Congo has fuelled vicious human-rights abuses. It's also been a propaganda gift to the extremists like Rwasa, who try to justify their attacks on ordinary Tutsi civilians in Congo and Burundi by peddling the idea of a Rwandan-led, Western-aided "Tutsi conspiracy" to dominate the region.

To support Amnesty's call for a full inquiry about British arms trafficking to the Congo, you can contact your member of parliament quickly and easily via

Friday, July 01, 2005

Burundi's ruling party admits "political collaboration" with FNL terrorists

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President Ndayizeye is expected to lose the forthcoming Burundian elections

BURUNDI: Army arrests scores of child soldiers

As the Burundian army announces the arrest of scores of FNL child soldiers, Burundi's ruling FRODEBU party has admitted "political collaboration" with Agathon Rwasa's Hutu-extremist group. Human rights groups have accused Rwasa's FNL of massive human rights abuses in recent years, including torture, extortion, summary executions, the recruitment of child soldiers, and ethnically-targeted killings of civilians. In August 2004, the FNL admitted responsibility for the Gatumba massacre, in which more than 150 Congolese Tutsi refugees were killed. At the time, Burundi's President condemned the attack and ordered the arrest of Agathon Rwasa - yet no arrests have ever been made. FRODEBU's electoral rival, CNDD-FDD, has alleged that the FNL is now being employed by the ruling party to attack and intimidate voters in the run-up to the forthcoming general election. Terrorist attacks have continued in recent weeks. In Muhuta commune, on June 16th, attackers believed to be members of the FNL opened fire on a crowd of churchgoers, killing six people, including the pastor, and injuring seven others. Burundi's Radio Publique Africain reported earlier this week that FNL militants had been conducting a 'whispering campaign' in Hutu areas, alleging that the CNDD-FDD leader Peter (Pierre) Nkurunziza is a Tutsi, and urging them to support Frodebu. A Frodebu spokesman has denied involvement in the violence, but admits "political collaboration" with the FNL.

President Ndayizeye's decision to ally himself with the FNL follows his party's heavy defeat by CNDD-FDD in the Burundian local elections earlier this month.

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« Portez loin notre voix »

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Un journaliste, John Mellor, a rendu visite au Burundi à la famille d’une des victimes du massacre du Titanic, ce bus qui faisait voyage vers Bujumbura dans lequel a péri une ressortissante britannique, Charlotte Wilson en décembre 2000. Comment vit cette famille au moment où Agathon Rwasa, le leader du mouvement FNL –Palipehutu responsable du massacre, est actuellement reçu avec tous les honneurs par des « négociateurs plitiques». La communauté internationale qui l’avait classé « terroriste » est subitement devenue amnésique. Dans la famille victime, désespoir et peur se combinent.

Agathon Rwasa, une étrange virginité retrouvée

La vieille maman de Richard Ndereyimana habite chez sa fille Adrienne à une cité populaire de Bujumbura. Dans le salon de leur modeste maison, la grand-mère joue avec sa petite fille Nana, et Adrienne assise sur une chaise allaite son dernier nouveau-né. Un voisin a mis à fond sa radio, c’est l’heure du journal parlé en Kirundi de la radio gouvernementale. Les titres du journal nous parviennent dans le petit salon. A la une de l’actualité le speaker parle de la « bonne évolution des négociations entre le gouvernement et Agathon Rwasa, le leader des rebelles du FNL-Palipehutu ».

La famille écoute les nouvelles de la radio abattue. Depuis quelques temps les officiels burundais parlent d’Agathon Rwasa comme d’un simple partenaire avec qui, il faut négocier tout simplement. Pourtant cet homme est responsable de la mort de tant d’innocents, dont les plus connus, les passagers du « Titanic », les réfugiés Banyamulenge de « Gatumba » ne comptent plus. Même les grands organismes semblent devenus amnésiques. Agathon Rwasa, celui qui était taxé de « terroriste » et mis hors jeu par l’ONU et les chefs d’Etats de la sous-région a retrouvé, par on ne sait quelle magie politicienne, une étrange virginité.

J’attendais « mes enfants »

Il est très pénible pour la mère de Richard de parler de « ses enfants», c’est ainsi qu’elle appelle Richard et Charlotte. Mais les souvenirs sont précis, douloureux, elle parle de cet-après midi de décembre où elle attendait « ses enfants » :

« Richard devait nous présenter Charlotte. On ne la connaissait pas. On avait préparé les poissons Mukeke, Richard adorait ce plat. Mais on avait aussi préparé un poulet au cas où son amie, cette jeune anglaise, n’aimerait pas le poisson. J’attendais heureuse mes enfants. Il avait plu cet après midi-là ». La voix de la vieille maman s’étrangle.

Charlotte et Richard n’ont mangé ni les Mukeke , ni le poulet. Le Bus « Titanic » dans lequel ils avaient embarqué au Rwanda où les deux jeunes gens travaillaient est tombé dans une embuscade l’après-midi du 28 décembre 2000. Adrienne jusque-là silencieuse lâche douloureusement

«C’est à la morgue que nous avons trouvé Richard et Charlotte. Richard avait reçu des balles à la tête, au niveau des côtes et des jambes. Quant à Charlotte… » Elle s’arrête visiblement à bout… « Une congolaise rescapée du massacre nous a dit qu’elle a proposé tout ce qu’elle avait pour que les assassins lui laissent la vie sauve» Adrienne cherche ses mots

« les rebelles lui ont dit « nous allons te prendre tout ce que tu as et nous te tuerons aussi car ton gouvernement ne nous aide pas».

Adrienne se rappelle un autre détail terrible « ils était nus, les rebelles leur ont tout pris. Tout ».

Selon tous les observateurs,le FNL-Plipehutu a « signé » son crime :parmi les survivants aucun n’est Tutsi. Les rescapés étaient soit étrangers, Congolais, soit Hutu.

« J’ai demandé que l’on enterre ensemble mes enfants » lance alors la mère de Richard.

Adrienne explique que sa mère ne voulait pas que l’on sépare les amoureux assassinés mais on lui a expliqué que Charlotte avait sa famille en Angleterre, et qu’elle devait être rapatriée.

Dites aux WILSON de porter loin notre voix

Les deux femmes se taisent. Elles semblent avoir tout dit. La mort de Richard reste une plaie béante. Depuis, la mère dépérit lentement. Elle a peur aussi pour ses enfants qui restent. Elle ne comprend pas cette politique où à la radio elle entend les grands de ce monde qui rencontrent allégrement les assassins de « ses enfants ».

Depuis quelques années elle vit déplacée dans ce quartier populaire, elle a dû fuir sa propriété au sud de Bujumbura à cause des attaques du FNL-Palipehutu.

« Rwasa m’a pris mes enfants, m’a contrainte à l’errance, je n’ai plus de chez moi, je vis chez ma fille, et on me dit que cet homme viendra bientôt comme dirigeant !

Une lueur de révolte passe un instant dans ses yeux mais s’éteint aussitôt.

Adrienne plus combative me dit avec force « les parents de tous ceux qui ont perdu les leurs dans le Titanic se connaissent, nous sommes prêts pour aller en justice, mais ici nous ne sommes rien, ici c’est la corruption, les assassins circulent, dites à ceux qui sont à l’étranger, en Europe, de porter loin notre voix, dites aux WILSON de dire au monde notre détresse. Nous voulons la justice. »

La famille de Richard semble attacher un grand espoir à cette famille anglaise, à l’action de cet autre Richard la sœur de Charlotte.

Au Burundi, cette famille se sent impuissante, démunie face à un Agathon Rwasa courtisé par la communauté internationale et qui , ce n’est pas exclu, pourrait occuper un grand poste prochainement malgré tous ses crimes.

En me raccompagnant la veille maman de Richard Ndereyimana me glisse avec une pointe de chagrin :

« vous savez nous sommes une famille très chrétienne, tous les soirs avant de dormir je récite le Notre Père mais au moment où l’on dit « Pardonnez-nous nos offenses comme nous pardonnons à ceux qui nous ont offensé », ma petite fille Rachel de sept ans s’écrie toujours, mais grand-maman même à ceux qui ont tué Tonton Richard !»

« Je ne sais quoi répondre » me dit alors la maman de Richard.

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CNDD-FDD dénonce l'alliance de FNL-Frodebu

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L’argent qui fera le malheur du Palipehutu-Fnl et du Frodebu

Agathon Rwasa, le leader du Palipehutu-FNL [mouvement encore en guerre contre le gouvernement burundais] a reçu du Frodebu [parti du président Domitien Ndayizeye] de l’argent, pour que son mouvement aide le Frodebu à déstabiliser les élections législatives, prévues pour ce lundi 4 juillet 2005, soit un mois après les élections communales, que le Frodebu a largement perdues - à sa très grande surprise. Rappelons que le Frodebu avait remis une importante somme d’argent, un peu avant les élections communales, afin que les « soldats » de Rwasa intimident la population. Cette dernière a été contrainte à voter pour le Frodebu, dans certaines communes de Bujumbura rural et dans certaines zones de la Mairie de Bujumbura. Cette « alliance contre nature » n’accouchera que d’une souris, puisque ce mouvement, affaibli par une hémorragie interne, n’a pas pu perturber le processus électoral sur tout le territoire national.

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FNL accused of spreading race hate ahead of Burundian elections - rumours of an alliance between FNL and Frodebu

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Burundi leader addresses security; rebels link rivals to Rwanda's Kagame

Even though the president of the republic says that measures have been taken to neutralize Palipehutu-FNL, it can be seen on the ground that the group continues to sensitize the population in favour of Frodebu and to the detriment of CNDD-FDD [National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy; former rebels who, like Frodebu and the FNL, draw their support from the majority Hutu], according to various sources...

According to the information that we were able to gather from the ground among the population, the CNDD-FDD is being demonized by the FNL. They are saying things such as: Hussein Rajabu and Peter Nkurunziza, respectively secretary-general and president of the party [CNDD-FDD], are Tutsis, traitors and former deputies to [Rwandan President] Paul Kagame.

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Take action - sign the Gatumba petition