Burundi asks BBC to pull down 'fake report' on killings

Saturday December 15 2018

House number 76 in Kinindo, Bujumbura

House number 76 in Kinindo, Bujumbura, believed to have been a secret torture facility. PHOTO | MOSES HAVYARIMANA | NMG 

By MOSES HAVYARIMANA
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Burundi's Justice Minister Laurentine Kanyana has called a documentary by the British Broadcasting Corporation a ''fake report'' and has demanded the broadcaster pull it down and pay damages to those tarnished by its airing.

The documentary titled Inside Burundi’s Killing Machine and made by BBC’s Africa Eye, shows the alleged systematic killings of opposition members by the police and intelligence in what it calls secret torture facilities.

On Thursday, the minister addressed a press conference where the documentary was screened for all members of the diplomatic corps, and later travelled with the group to house number 76 located in Kinindo in the outskirts of Bujumbura, where the said crimes are alleged to have been committed.

Speaking at the house, the minister said: “Burundi government will be suing the BBC on the fake investigation report it published as this has a big impact on our country, most especially in tarnishing the country’s image.”

Coincidentally, the owner of the house, Prosper Kaze, is a person of interest to the justice department, accused of trying to assassinate government officials.

In was in the same house, then apparently abandoned, that police in November 2015 said they had found weapons hidden.

The house has since been under the control of the country’s security forces.

Background

But according to the BBC documentary, house number 76 is believed to be under the control of the country’s intelligence, and dissenters were tortured there, and others killed.

The BBC report alleges that in December 2016, a video was widely shared on Burundi social media platforms showing a red liquid flowing from the gutter of a privately owned house located in Kinindo in the outskirts of the city.

“BBC Africa Eye has been looking closely and asking some critical questions if the people who died in house number 76 lived here and is the government running a secret torture facilities to silence dissent,” a journalist is quoted saying in the documentary.

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