BURUNDI: BURUNDI: Army officers imprisoned for Itaba killings
NAIROBI, 4 October (IRIN) - Two army officers have been imprisoned in
connection with the killing of some 173 people in Itaba, in the central
province of Gitega, Net Press reported on Thursday.
The officers, whom Net Press identified as Maj Budigoma and Lt
Ngendakuriyo, are being held at the Gitega Central Prison. Their arrest
followed "intense pressure" from Hutu parties in the country. "It is
first time that military officers have been imprisoned following army
operations," Net Press, a Bujumbura news organ, reported.
Speaking from Bujumbura on 26 September, Amnesty International
Secretary-General Irene Khan told IRIN that all those killed in Itaba
had been civilians, including women and children. She described the act
as "cold-blooded", and said Burundian President Pierre Buyoya had
promised that the state would prosecute those who had ordered the
The massacre occurred on 9 September, but was only made public several
days later. It is unclear what prompted the killings although the army
has been active in trying to put down a rebellion by Hutu fighters in
parts of the country.
Burundian soldiers also killed at least 100 civilians in July in the
province of Muramvya, northwest of Gitega, the Missionary Service News
Agency reported on Wednesday, citing a report from an independent
parliamentary commission of inquiry. The first reports of this incident
emerged a day after Buyoya confirmed that soldiers had been responsible
for the Itaba killings.