Burundi mutineers tried, shot on hospital beds


Juvenal, one of the mutineers being escorted to court on Friday


Burundi High Court Saturday received 18 people accused of taking part in a failed coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Family members of two of the 18 men taken to court told Reuters the suspects had raw wounds on their bodies and one of them had lost hearing in one of his ears due to a beating in the cells.

One of the men, identified by onlookers as Juvenal Niyungeko, a senior officer, was escorted into the court without shoes and restrained by handcuffs.

Christella Harerimana, a lawyer representing three of the suspects, said one of her clients had been walking barefoot since he was arrested, and that he had been held in a house rather than a police cell, contrary to legal requirements.

It is still unclear what they will be charged with.

Meanwhile, the fate of General Godefroid Niyombare, who had announced the president’s ouster on Wednesday, is still unknown.

On Friday, presidential spokesman, Gervais Abayeho, told Reuters that Niyombare had been arrested and didn’t surrender.

The same Abayeho told BBC that Niyombare was not yet arrested but was still at large and being hunted down.

Three army generals who conspired with him have been arrested.

Patients shot on hospital beds

Al Jazeera reports how police raided a hospital in Bujumbura, shot and killed patients as they searched for men injured in clashes following a coup.

Dr Antoine, a surgeon at the Bumerec hospital in Bujumbura, said Friday’s attack also left some patients injured.

The attack happened on the same day Nkurunziza returned home.

“We received three patients and they were here in the emergency room after that moment we see a group of policemen arrive here and they began to shoot everywhere,” said Antoine, who uses only one name.

He added: “Some patient were killed, one man was killed and the others were wounded seriously, and we do not know what they did with that.”

Protests resume

Residents of Bujumbura demonstrated on Saturday and announced that they would swarm the streets on Monday to protest against Nkurunziza’s third term bid.

The President had earlier issued a directive banning protests that are now entering a month.

“We therefore urge the immediate cessation of the demonstrations, that those who have claims do so in dialogue and consultation, not through force and revolt,” Nkurunziza announced.

The citizens vow not to allow Nkurunziza violate the constitution and the Arusha deal that ended the long civil war.

At least 15 people have been killed in the unrest.

Activists and journalists are said to be in hiding or attempting to flee the country in fear of reprisals from the state or their supporters following the abortive coup, relief agencies said.

UNHCR said Friday that 105,000 people have already fled to Tanzania.

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