Nkurunziza grants pardon to minors arrested during protests

Thursday October 01 2015

Burundians protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for third term in office in Bujumbura on April 30, 2015. President Nkurunziza has granted amnesty to minors who were arrested during protests. PHOTO | FILE |

Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza has granted amnesty to minors who were arrested during protests against his bid for a third term in April.

While addressing the nation via the state broadcaster, President Nkurunziza said the decision was reached in consultation with the minors’ parents who committed to have them back in school.

“Minors and those who apologised on causing instability and chaos in the country will be forgiven, all those who participated in the protests and were arrested will get a fair trial,” said the Burundian president.

However, the president said that the detainees won’t be let to go freely at first but would spend at least one month in training for different activities of work.

“We don’t want the youth to go back and stay idle. The most important thing is to get an area where they can work and at least have a profession,” he said.

This comes after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussien expressed concern at the situation of 52 minors who are detained alongside adults.


Mr Hussein said that the police often surround a specific neighbourhood, blocking all entry and exit points while they carry out their searches, “given these searches sometimes continue for several days, this method raises serious concerns with regard to freedom of movement,” he said.

“As we promised to bring back peace and stability in the country within two months, the security forces have done tremendous work and hopefully by the end of the second month the country will be more peaceful than ever,” said president Nkurunziza.

The president accused protests organisers of destabilising the country and leading the youth astray.

“We call on any country to arrest those leaders or convict them on the crimes that they have committed in the country for the last months,” he said.

Despite a relatively calm capital, dead bodies have continued to be found lying on the streets with hands tied behind their backs before being executed.

“Almost every day, dead bodies are found lying on the streets of some of Bujumbura’s neighbourhoods. In many cases, the victims appear to have been killed by a bullet fired at close range. The bodies sometimes show signs of torture and are typically found with their hands tied behind their backs,” the UN rights chief said.

Targeted assassination have continued in the country with both the government and opposition sides being targeted despite the beefed up security during night hours in Bujumbura.

President Nkurunziza has recently promised to restore peace and stability in the country within a period of two months.