November 30, 2020

Burundi ruling party youth “Imbonerakure” indicted of gang rapes

Members of Burundi ruling party’s youth league, the Imbonerakure, have repeatedly gang-raped women since a wave of political protests began in 2015, Human Rights Watch said today in a special report

Many of the rapes appear to have been aimed at family members of perceived government opponents. Policemen or men wearing police uniforms have also committed rape.

Skye Wheeler, women’s rights emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch said that many of the women have suffered long-term physical and psychological consequences.

“Attackers from Burundi’s ruling party youth league tied up, brutally beat, and gang-raped women, often with their children nearby,” she added.

Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 70 rape victims in May 2016, in the Nduta refugee camp in western Tanzania. Nduta is one of three Tanzanian camps sheltering 140,000 Burundian refugees.

imbonerakure in action

HRW report stipulates Dozens of women said they were raped in or close to their homes. Fourteen said they recognized at least one of the attackers as an Imbonerakure. In some other cases, they said the rapists wore police uniforms. In other cases, they could not determine who the attackers were.

A 36-year-old woman said she was raped in the Mutakura neighborhood of Bujumbura, the capital, in October 2015: “I was held by the arms and legs. [An attacker] said: ‘Let’s kill her, she is an [opposition National Liberation Forces] FNL wife’ as they raped me.”

Human Rights Watch wrote to the president of the ruling party, Pascal Nyabenda, on July 12, 2016, seeking his response to allegations of rape by Imbonerakure, but did not receive a reply.

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Théogène U



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