"The Police have the authority to beat anyone who does not obey the law" - Burundian government announces bonuses for police who beat up journalists
Bujumbura - Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza will reward the police official who last week ordered the detention and assault of several journalists, the interior minister said on Tuesday.
The reporters had gone to a news conference last week at the home of Matthias Basabose, who was expelled from Nkurunziza's Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) party after making corruption allegations about a senior party member.
Evariste Ndayishimiye said that "police have the authority to beat anyone who does not obey the law" in remarks contradicting the condemnation by Nkurunziza's spokesperson of the journalists' detention and beating.
"The president said that he will reward the police who led the squad which was sent to the home of Matthias Basabose because he fulfilled his duty very well and I agree with him (the president)," Ndayishimiye said in a speech relayed to local radio stations.
"I told journalists that if the police tell you not to go beyond this line and you do so, they have the permission to beat you," he said.
Last Tuesday, a day after police detained about 20 journalists, Nkurunziza's office denounced the act, insisting that the president never ordered the police to carry out the detention and the beatings.
Basabose, who ran Nkurunziza's successful presidential election campaign last year, had wanted to present his side of the story in his dispute with FDD president Hussein Radjabu whom he accused of embezzlement and judicial impropriety.
But shortly after the news conference began, police officers armed with rifles surrounded his home and announced they had received orders to prevent anyone from leaving. - Sapa-AFP
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