“The discovery of a mass grave at Mutakura and the identification of criminals constitute evidence that journalists from international media saw the atrocities, but kept quiet. This shows their unprofessionalism,” said ruling party CNDD-FDD spokesman, Daniel Gelase Ndabirabe.
The grave was found at Mutakura neighborhood, north of the capital Bujumbura, on Monday. The authorities say there are at least 30 bodies in the grave.
“The CNDD-FDD urges the three UN independent experts visiting Burundi to identify journalists who have covered the bloody protests since May 2015 in neighborhoods like Mutakura, Ngagara, Nyakabiga, Jabe and Musaga to be interrogated and by the Burundian justice,” said the spokesman, adding that the discovery proves that security and defense forces were “wrongly” tarnished.
The discovery coincided with the visit, from March 1 to March 8, of three UN independent experts who have been deployed to Burundi to investigate human rights violations.
Bujumbura Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa told reporters Mutakura was a neighborhood known for hosting “insurgents” and the bodies were victims who supported a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza.
“This shows that accusations by Amnesty International and other organizations about the existence of mass graves where youth said to have disappeared in the hands of security forces were dumped are wrong and groundless,” Mbonimpa said, adding that the discovery should refute some accusations against the security forces.
Burundi has been in turmoil since April last year when President Nkurunziza announced his bid for a third term in office, criticized by the opposition as violating the constitution.
He went on to win an election boycotted by main opposition parties in July, amid waves of protests. Violence so far has killed over 400 people. Enditem