Burundi Arrests Former MP Over ‘Attempt To Overthrow Government’

Burundian authorities have arrested a former lawmaker, Fabien Banciryanino, over an alleged attempt to overthrow the government, his family has said.

Banciryanino, who was arrested on Friday after a press conference that he had called for that day was cancelled, spent the weekend in detention.

He was reportedly taken by police from his home in the commercial capital, Bujumbura.

Police have not commented on the claims.

The former lawmaker was a critic of ex-President Pierre Nkurunziza, who died in June. He opposed a law that created a number of retirement perks for Mr Nkurunziza, including giving him the title of “supreme guide to patriotism”.

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His press conference on Friday was to comment on accusations carried by a local YouTube channel that he had insulted the new President, Evariste Ndayishimiye.

Local media reports claimed the former deputy was detained in the dungeons of the Brigade spéciale de recherche (BSR). He was questioned about his interventions in plenary sessions of the National Assembly.

Quoting members of his family, reports said Banciryanino is accused of having opposed the late President Pierre Nkurunziza to receiving the title of Supreme Guide of Patriotism and of having accused him of crimes. 

He is also being prosecuted for having accused the State of persecuting people repatriated from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by imprisoning them. 

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Investigators say the DR Congo returnees were rebels.

According to his relatives, there was no arrest warrant issued against Fabien Banciryanino. 

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