AFP Burundi reporter threatened - France concerned

2016-06-01 22:26
Burundi-based AFP journalist Esdras Ndikumana was held for around two hours, during which he was subjected to severe beatings on his back, legs and the soles of his feet. (Miguel Medina, AFP)

Burundi-based AFP journalist Esdras Ndikumana was held for around two hours, during which he was subjected to severe beatings on his back, legs and the soles of his feet. (Miguel Medina, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - France voiced "serious concern" Wednesday over threats made against Agence France-Presse's Burundi correspondent, accused by authorities in Bujumbura of inciting violence in his coverage of the African country's crisis.

The French foreign ministry also called for Bujumbura to ensure the respect of press freedom after the threats against Esdras Ndikumana, journalist for AFP and Radio France Internationale (RFI).

Ndikumana, who was tortured in August 2015 by security forces, was targeted on Tuesday by threats on social media after being accused by Bujumbura of "promoting crime and violence" in his coverage.

"France expresses its serious concern following statements by Burundian authorities accusing [Ndikumana] of incitement to violence," said French foreign ministry spokesperson Romain Nadal.

"We condemn the threats made against him, notably on social media. It is essential that journalists are able to exercise their profession in total independence and security," he added.

He added that Paris "calls for commitments announced in February by Burundian authorities to resolve the crisis to be fully implemented, including the reopening of all independent media."

On Tuesday AFP's Global News Director Michele Leridon said the agency "deems unacceptable these personal attacks on its correspondent Esdras Ndikumana, which target and imperil a journalist providing irreproachable coverage of news in Burundi under very difficult circumstances."

Ndikumana, who won the French Diplomatic Press Association Prize last year and is considered one of the best specialists on the region, fled Burundi last year but continues to cover the country's crisis from abroad.

Burundi has been plunged into a deep crisis since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced in April 2015 that he was running for a third term. He was re-elected last July.

Marked by assassinations on both sides, attacks against the police and summary executions, the violence has left more than 500 people dead and forced more than 270 000 Burundians to flee the country, according to the UN.

Burundi's government has silenced independent journalists at home and regularly lashes out at the international media, accusing the press of being part of a "conspiracy" to overthrow it.

Ndikumana, who began working as Bujumbura correspondent for AFP in 2001 and for RFI in 2002, fled the country last August after being arrested by the security services. He was beaten and tortured in detention.

RFI, AFP and Ndikumana have filed a criminal complaint over his mistreatment. So far, the complaint has not led to an investigation.

Read more on:    afp  |  esdras ndikumana  |  burundi  |  east africa  |  media

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.