Feared Burundian police arrest comedian

2016-04-01 18:02
A file photo f Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza taken in 2014. (AFP)

A file photo f Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza taken in 2014. (AFP)

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Nairobi - A popular Burundi comedian known as "Kigingi" was held by police for three days after poking fun at the president, his family said on Friday.

Humorist and Buja FM radio host Alfred Aubin Mugenzi was arrested on Tuesday by Burundi's National Intelligence Service (known by its French acronym SNR) and charged with insulting President Pierre Nkurunziza.

He was apprehended at a hotel in Muramvya, 50km east of the capital, while on a promotional tour for a beer company.

Family members said the comedian was taken to the capital Bujumbura and "held in SNR dungeons" for three days before being released on Friday.

Rights groups have accused the SNR of torturing or simply disappearing suspects.

SNR officers told Mugenzi's family he was arrested over a skit he performed in neighbouring Rwanda last year, in which he lampooned football-mad Nkurunziza, showing him refusing to leave the pitch despite receiving two yellow cards - a reference to the president's refusal to stand down last year after two terms in office.

Instead, Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial third mandate, triggering bloody unrest, a failed military coup and months of violence that has killed hundreds of people and prompted a quarter of a million others to flee the country.

Read more on:    pierre nkurunziza  |  burundi
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