That was among the shocking revelations that unfolded in the just-ended, four day sessions of public hearing on the atrocities taking place in Bujumbura.
They had taken place inside the plenary hall of the East African Legislative Assembly within the East African Community (EAC) Headquarters here.
The Arusha-held public hearing on the petition by East African Citizens on deteriorating humanitarian situation in Burundi follows the petition submitted on November 16, 2015 by the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) and five other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
These include Atrocities Watch Africa, Centre for Citizens’ Participation on the African Union (CCPAU), East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum (EACSOF), East Africa Law Society (EALS) and Kituo cha Katiba – The Eastern Africa Centre for Constitutional Development.
The Chairman of the Burundi Civil Society Organisation, Mr Vital Nshirimana, stated here that as soon as killers murder their victims, they proceed to perform macabre surgeries on the dead men and women chests, cutting them open and removing the hearts.
Where those bodily organs are being taken remains a mystery. Mr Nshirimana, who also represented the Forum for Reinforcement of Civil Society (FORSC), called upon EAC member states to seriously look into the matter because right now the number of Burundi citizens who have lost their lives is climbing towards 1,200 with nearly 400,000 fleeing the country as refugees camped in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
He showed the regional House, pictures and short video clips of victims whose bodies were badly mutilated, missing limbs, heads and of late, featuring large holes on the chests through which the hearts were horridly gorged out. Many believe it is some sort of dark ritual; others viewed it as another method of traumatising relatives of the dead persons.
On his part, the Chairman of the Burundi Union of Journalists, Mr Alexandre Niyungeko, pointed out that a total of eight members of the Fourth Estate have been forced into exile in foreign countries but one had just been arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one is serving an indefinite jail term in Bujumbura and remaining ones being stalked by unknown people on daily basis, thus living in fear.
Also speaking during the Arusha-held public hearing on Burundi’s crisis, the chairperson of the Burundi Women and Girls Movement for Peace and Security, Ms Marie Louise Baricaku, said there is a new wave of kidnapping young people and abducting girls who then disappear without trace.
“When you are killing the youth, you are killing the future,” she said, adding that as long as killings are going on, future dialogues are doomed and even the neighbouring countries can never be safe.
Daily News Tanzania