Burundi accuses Rwanda of abducting four fishermen

Monday December 10 2018

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MOSES HAVYARIMANA
By MOSES HAVYARIMANA
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Burundi has accused the Rwandan marine of kidnapping four of its fishermen on lake Rweru in Kirundo Province.

The Burundi Public Security ministry said in a Twitter message on Monday: “....the incident happened last Saturday around 11pm Burundi local time and also in the same commune Rwandan army took away fishing equipment belonging to Burundi fishermen”.

The incident comes amid deteriorating relations between Burundi and Rwanda after President Pierre Nkurunziza wrote a letter to his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni, the current chairman of the East African Community (EAC), calling for an “extraordinary summit whose agenda should be to clear the issues of open conflict between Burundi and Rwanda”.

An enemy

President Nkurunziza, in the letter dated December 4, accused Rwanda of preparing and supervising the failed coup d’état in 2015.

“Rwanda is the only country in the region that is the main destabiliser of my country and therefore I no longer consider it a partner, but simply an enemy,” wrote the president.

Kigali has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying Burundi should not blame neighbouring countries for its internal problems.

In 2014, more than 40 unidentified bodies were found on the lake, with both Rwanda and Burundi denying being responsible for the deaths.

Training refugees

The two neighbours have since 2015 had tensions around their common border, while trading accusations.

In September, the Burundi police said that ‘unidentified criminals’ from Rwanda killed a 27-year-old, Mr Ngendakumana Daniel and his wife Nikiza Elizabeth, in Kayanza Province in the northern part of the country. The province shares a border with Rwanda.

Earlier in July, the Rwandan government said that an armed gang shot five people, killing two of them in a village in the south, with Kigali claiming the attackers came from Nyungwe forest which borders Burundi.

The Burundi and Rwanda relations have been sour since 2015 when Bujumbura accused Kigali of training refugees to oust President Nkurunziza’s government. Rwanda accuses Burundi of hosting the FDLR rebels it blames for committing the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

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