Burundi manhunt on for former prime minister Alain Bunyoni

Wednesday April 19 2023
Former prime minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni

Former prime minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni. PHOTO | COURTESY


Burundi has launched a search for its former prime minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, who authorities say they could not trace.

Interior Affairs Minister Martin Niteretse told a press conference in Bujumbura on Wednesday that Mr Bunyoni was being sought after, but he did not know the reasons behind the operation.

“The General Prosecutor’s Office needed some inquiries from the former prime minister over some suspicious cases...he wasn’t found…we are waiting for their findings,” he said.

Mr Bunyoni was sacked last September following President Evariste Ndayishimiye’s warning of a possible coup plot against him and top government officials “who think they are untouchable”.

Read: Purge keeps fragile peace in Burundi after coup talk

Mr Bunyoni is a former police chief and had been in office as prime minister for two years. He had also served as Minister for Internal Security during late president Pierre Nkurunziza’s regime.


The former prime minister “had been warned in advance that the noose was going to tighten on him, he disappeared into the wild before the arrival of the police”, a senior military official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The official said the authorities had arrested a senior police officer for allegedly telling Mr Bunyoni about the search operations.

There was speculation that the chief of Internal Intelligence, Alfred Museremu, had also been detained over Mr Bunyoni’s disappearance.

“What I know is that Museremu was not arrested, but he was relieved from his duties; it just came at the time when the former prime minister is being wanted,” Mr Niteretse said.

He, however, told reporters a police colonel had been taken into custody but did not elaborate on the reasons for the arrest.

“Désiré Uwamahoro, I heard that he is being held at the prosecutor general’s office, and I don’t know what it’s about, but I think we will know all about this when the time comes...I can’t interfere,” he said.

Mr Uwamahoro was the chief of the special anti-riot unit.

- Additional reporting by AFP.