Another journalist is killed in Burundi

September 10, 2015 OPINION/NEWS




Sylvain Muyali

Following the recent protests in Burundi as a result of President Pierre Nkurunziza controversial re-election for a third term, it has been reported that on Monday, another journalist was killed while covering events in the town of Musaga, 25 km from the nation’s capital Bujumbura.

The journalist, identified as Surundo Balvere Bizima, was killed in an ambush by a person with a gun and uniform. The advisor for Presidential communication has thus far declined to comment on the matter.

Last month, journalist Esdras Ndikumana was beaten by members of the National Intelligence Service. Despite promises of sanctions, nothing has been done.

For Kerry Paterson, researcher for American NGO the Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ), it is necessary that the Burundian authorities understand that the international community keep accounts of assaults against the press in Burundi: “It is truly appalling. There are several journalists that have been beaten or attacked by police. And that’s really unacceptable. Once the protests began in April, we saw that several journalists were victims of the police.”

After radio stations were set alight in Burundi and attacks made against journalists, the issue of media protection again arises for the government: “We try to talk with people who work there and officials who are close to the president to tell them they are not a democracy if they fail to protect journalists,” stated Paterson.

The NGO researcher stressed the importance of disclosing information about what is happening to some media in Burundi. “For us it is important to try to publish what is happening, share the stories of journalists being attacked or receiving threats and to ensure that the Burundian government know that we see what happens.”

In addition to attacks on journalists in Burundi, a lawyer, member of the NGO Lawyers Without Borders, Mr Emmanuel Manirakiza, has also been the victim of verbal and physical violence when he visited the Bujumbura Special Office of Research to attend an arrested person.

After his visit, he drove to the office of deputy spokesman of the police where he was slapped and verbally threatened before being placed in custody for over 24 hours.

“I told myself, as a lawyer, I could not in any way hinder the investigation. I have not really understood that detention because a lawyer can not be prosecuted because he attends a person, regardless of the seriousness of the offense committed by it. The assistance of a person is a guaranteed right.”







sylvain muyali

Sylvain Muyali

Sylvain Muyali is a Congolese Journalist, Photographer and Filmmaker, as well as acting as Fixer and Facilitator for analysts and researchers, building capacities for NGO monitoring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has reported previously for the Associated Press and his words and images can also be found at ‘Vivons Positivement


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