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Opposition Criticizes Report of Burundi’s Attorney General on Mass Graves

A spokesman of a Burundian opposition party Friday criticized a report of the country’s attorney general rejecting allegations on the existence of mass graves after attacks on military camps on Dec. 11, 2015.

"There are several contradictions with regards to the number of the people killed during and after attacks on military barracks on Dec. 11, last year, the way they were killed, who killed them and where they were buried," said Tatien Sibomana, spokesman of the Union for National Progress (UPRONA) wing led by Charles Nditije.

According to Sibomana, the defense ministry spokesman and the mayor of Bujumbura gave diverging figures of "criminals" killed during and after the attacks against four military barracks.

"The Mayor said 50 killed gunmen were buried at Kanyosha cemetery and eight others at Mpanda cemetery, but the defense ministry spokesman gave a higher figure," Sibomana said.

"Besides, the attorney general yesterday (Thursday) said all the killed criminals were dressed in either military or police uniforms, but we saw so many corpses of victims who were not wearing military or police uniforms. Parents in Nyakabiga or Musaga lost their children who were pupils instead,"he said.

"We need a report made by independent experts and not a report made by the government alone because I suspect that parents of the children who were savagely killed were not interviewed," he added.

On Thursday, Burundian Attorney General Valentin Bagorikunda admitted that seven combatants captured after attacks on military barracks on Dec. 11, 2015 were discovered killed and urged inquiry on their assassination.

He said the seven combatants were captured at Mujejuru after an attack against Mujejuru military camp and were later discovered killed.

According to him, two military officers have been arrested and will have to "elucidate circumstances" under which the seven combatants died.

Bagorikunda was presenting a report of a commission that was appointed on Dec. 17, 2015 to investigate allegations on mass graves and extrajudicial executions following attacks on Dec. 11 against four military barracks in the east African nation.

Bagorikunda indicated that all the killed persons were buried in known cemeteries, stressing that the allegations of the existence of mass graves where those victims may have been buried are "wrong."

On Feb. 29, a mass grave was discovered for the first time at Mutakura in the Burundian capital Bujumbura.

Bujumbura Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa said the mass grave contained at least 30 corpses who were killed for supporting the candidature of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza who sought a controversial third term in April 2015.

By Robert Muriisa.

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