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Around 100 arrested in Burundi opposition strongholds

Friday May 13 2016

Heavily armed police patrol a street in

Heavily armed police patrol a street in Bujumbura, Burundi on April 12, 2016. PHOTO | AFP 

By AFP
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BUJUMBURA, Friday

Around 100 people have been arrested in the capital of Burundi in the latest of a series of roundups by security forces targeting opposition strongholds, officials and witnesses have said.

Freddy Mbonimpa, the mayor of Bujumbura, told journalists that the operations were necessary to “control and manage the movement of the people,” but residents said the result was widespread fear.

Friday’s roundup in Musaga, a southern neighbourhood that has seen regular anti-government protests since Burundi’s crisis began more than a year ago, was characteristic of security sweeps of recent weeks.

COMPILING LISTS

According to witnesses, dozens of police and soldiers went from one door to another and from one street to another compiling lists of residents and visitors and taking many, mostly young men, away for questioning.

“They took all the men, young people and even students in uniform going to school,” said a female resident of Musaga who added that her husband and two sons were arrested.

“We live in terror of seeing our people leave and never return, because these mass arrests take place almost every day,” she said.

In a similar operation, also on Friday morning, dozens of men and young people were arrested in Mugamba, a restive town south of the capital.

On Wednesday, security forces again arrested more than 100 people.

Most were released soon afterwards but at least four people, according to the police, and a dozen according to witnesses have not been seen since.