Burundi has executed rebel leader

2012-06-06 22:25

Bujumbura - The Burundian army has executed a former spy chief who was believed to head a new rebel group and was captured by troops in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, a rights group said on Wednesday.

"Jean-Petit Nduwimana was arrested in the Uvira region (in eastern DRC) in early May and handed over to the Burundian army," Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, who heads the Aprodeh prisoners' rights group, told reporters.

"Three days ago exactly, we have learned that Jean-Petit Nduwimana was summarily executed," he said.

When contacted by AFP, army spokesperson Gaspard Baratuza refused to comment.

According to a high-ranking army officer speaking on condition of anonymity, Nduwimana was captured during clashes between Congolese government forces and Burundian rebels last month.

Another Burundian rebel leader, Claver Nduwayezu - better known as Carmel or Mukono - was killed during the same clashes, the officer said, without elaborating on Nduwimana's fate.

Nduwimana was a former leading member of the CNDD-FDD rebellion which is now in power in the small central African country. He was integrated into the army in 2004 and was appointed as chief of staff of the intelligence services.

Extrajudicial killings

He went back to the bush in 2008 when rifts emerged within the ruling party and resurfaced late last year as part of the newly-formed Forces for the Restoration of Democracy (FRD-Abanyagihugu).

The FRD had launched an attack in eastern Burundi from Tanzania and Nduwimana was later spotted in the DRC.

"We can see that extrajudicial killings have resumed in Burundi," Mbonimpa said, claiming there had been at least eight cases this year alone. "There are death squads operating in this country."

Several Burundian rebel groups are currently believed to be operating from eastern regions of DR Congo, which largely escape the control of the Kinshasa government.

Burundi's security situation broke down following 2010 polls when the former rebel National Liberation Forces and other opposition groups accused President Pierre Nkurunziza and his party of rigging their way to re-election.

The FNL's top leaders returned to the bush and have been carrying out sporadic attacks against the regime, sparking fears of a resumption of the civil war that claimed 300 000 lives between 1993 and 2006.