Opposition politician allegedly abducted in Burundi
A prominent Burundian opposition Politician Leopold Habarugira, has been kidnapped in the capital by armed men in Police uniform, his wife and colleagues said on Wednesday.
However, authorities have denied knowledge on the abduction.
Habarugira, 54, is the treasurer of the Union for Peace and Development party and a rare opposition member who has remained in the east African nation since it was plunged into a political crisis in 2015.
“My husband and I were out jogging, and suddenly we saw a vehicle coming towards us.
“In the car there were three armed men in police uniforms who immediately took my husband and forced him into the vehicle,’’ Liberates Nzitonda, Habarugira’s wife, said.
Pierre Nkurikiye, a police spokesperson, said the authorities were not aware of a kidnapping.
Nkurikiye said: “No police institution arrested this person. Let his family look elsewhere.’’
Chavineau Mugwengezo President of the UPD party in exile, said that Habarugira had survived an assassination attempt in the past and pointed the finger at the state for Tuesday’s alleged kidnapping.
He said: “All these kidnappings orchestrated are in line with the execution of a plan for the physical elimination of political opponents.’’
The UPD’s former leader was murdered in 2015.
The unrest in Burundi began when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his decision to seek a third term in office.
Nkurunziza then won July 2015 elections in spite of the constitutional two-term limit, unleashing a political crisis that had led to hundreds of people being killed.
A UN commission inquiry into the situation in Burundi said earlier this year that high-ranking officials had committed crimes including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.