Burundi Opposition Slams Wave Of Arrests As Election Nears

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Burundi’s main opposition party on Saturday denounced the arrests of 23 local leaders in one of their strongholds on the outskirts of the capital.

National Freedom Council (CNL) spokesman Therence Manirambona said the arrests began on Thursday after confusing reports of an attack — which turned out to involve a gang of goat thieves — in a nearby suburb.

“After a sham attack in the Kanyosha suburb on Wednesday, there was a wave of arrests of local CNL leaders in neighbouring suburbs of Isale and Mubimbi,” he told AFP.

A police source confirmed the arrests for “investigative purposes” but would not reveal the reason for their detention, citing the “confidentiality” of the investigation process.

Manirambona charged that one of those arrested in the suburb of Mubimbi was “beaten to death” on Thursday night and his family had not been given access to his remains.

The violent aftermath of the last presidential election in 2015 made Burundi a focus of an investigation by the International Criminal Court for alleged murder, rape, torture, and disappearances.

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