Police Arrest Former Burundian Prime Minister Alain Guillaume

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Police in Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital on Friday, arrested the country’s former prime minister, Alain Guillaume. The country’s justice ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

“Alain Guillaume Bunyoni is currently in the hands of the police,” a statement signed by the General Prosecutor Sylvestre Nyandwi and shared by the justice ministry said.

Alain Guillaume Bunyoni was prime minister between June 2020 to September 2022. He was dismissed last year after the president accused unnamed people of planning a coup against him.

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There was no mention of where he was being held or the crimes he’s being charged for.

Burundi’s human rights commission posted a tweet stating that representatives had visited Bunyoni in detention and said he had not faced any abuse.

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Many in the East African nation of 11 million people see Bunyoni as second most powerful man in the country’s ruling party and was a close ally of former president Pierre Nkurunziza, who died in office in 2020.

The U.S. sanctioned Bunyoni in 2015 over his alleged role in violating human rights during violence sparked by Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office.

Nkurunziza’s administration foiled a coup attempt in 2015 and violence erupted, killing at least a thousand Burundians and forcing 400,000 people to flee abroad.

The country became an international pariah as a result, with donors cutting aid and the U.S. and EU placing sanctions on some officials.

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Bunyoni was security minister during the unrest.

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