Call on the Burundian authorities to launch an independent investigation into the disappearance of Jean Bigirimana
Burundi must investigate journalist Jean Bigirimana’s disappearance
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Burundian authorities to launch an independent investigation into the disappearance of Jean Bigirimana, a journalist who has been missing since 22 July 2016. A reporter for Iwacu and Infos Grands Lacs, he was seen for the last time at Muramvya, 40 km east of the capital, Bujumbura. Witnesses in Muramvya said he was in the custody of members of the National Intelligence Service (SNR).
An investigation by Bigirimana’s colleagues at Iwacu led to the discovery of two bodies in a river near to where he was seen for the last time. Unfortunately, the local authorities quickly buried the two bodies before they could be identified. Deprived of all information, his family and colleagues live in state of constant anxiety. Light must be shed on what happened to him.
Since April 2015, Burundi has been in the grips of a grave political crisis in which media outlets have been closed and many journalists have been physically attacked. Yet, before the crisis, it was regarded throughout the region as a model of media pluralism and professional journalism.
Burundi is ranked 156th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index, after falling 11 places in one year.