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» 24.07.2009 - Albino murderers jailed
» 19.05.2009 - Alleged albino killers in court
» 12.03.2009 - Government to mismanage funds – Burundi opposition charges
» 19.11.2008 - Ensure better protection for Albino children - UNICEF
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» 22.07.2008 - Hope for Burundi peace
» 05.09.2006 - Burundi Vice-President resigns over graft

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Economy - Development | Society | Human rights

Call for probe into Burundi activist's death

afrol News, 17 April - Human Rights Watch has called on Burundian authorities to ensure a speedy and independent investigation into the killing of a prominent anti-corruption activist Ernest Manirumva.

Mr Manirumva, vice-president of the Burundian civil society group Anticorruption and Economic Malpractice Observatory (OLUCOME), was killed on 9 April in his home in Bujumbura following the exposure of several cases of corruption in Burundi.

According to Human Right Watch, Mr Manirumva's work threatened the interests of corrupt officials and businesspeople who prey on Burundian society.

Georgette Gagnon of the US-based human rights group said those responsible for the activist's death should face justice, saying it would send a clear message that silencing critics is totally unacceptable in Burundi.

"The murder of an anti-corruption activist critical of police abuses demands an inquiry that is not under the exclusive control of the police," said Ms Gagnon, adding that an independent inquiry would be the only way to reach the truth and ensure justice is served for his family.

Ms Gagnon said too many killings and other human rights abuses in Burundi had been covered up or treated inadequately by the police and judicial system, further stating that the death of Mr Manirumva was a direct consequence of the country's impunity.

According to the human rights organisation, the assailants may have also forcibly entered Mr Manirumva's office at the Ministry of Agriculture, where he worked as a consultant.

A colleague who arrived at the Ministry at 8 am on 9 April told Human Rights Watch that he found the door unlocked, though he could not confirm that anything had been taken. "The colleague said that in the four months the two had shared the office, Mr Manirumva had never left it unlocked at night," he was quoted as saying.

Human Rights Watch has joined several Burundian human rights activists in calling for a commission to investigate the killing that would have an independent chairperson and would include judicial officers as well as police representatives.

The anticorruption group OLUCOME has reportedly received an anonymous letter in January 2009, warning members that they risked "elimination" if they continued researching politically sensitive cases.

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