Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, a former supremely powerful prime minister of Burundi, made an appearance in court on Monday. He is accused of undermining national security and insulting the president, according to witnesses and a judicial source.
A witness who spoke under the condition of anonymity said, “Everyone was surprised to see him,” mentioning that the accused was dressed in the green prison uniform of Burundi.
His pre-trial incarceration in the northern country’s Ngozi prison was prolonged during the hearing, a judicial source told AFP on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.
Three high court judges were seated behind closed doors on Friday to formally prosecute the former prime minister, who was detained in the capital Bujumbura last month.
According to court records that AFP was able to access, he is accused of “undermining the internal security of the state, undermining the proper functioning of the national economy, and personal enrichment”. He is also charged with insulting the president and having illegal weapons.
On September 7, President Evariste Ndayishimiye removed Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni from his position as prime minister, which he had held since June 2020. Interior Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca took his place.
Five days prior, the Head of State had condemned in a speech the desire for a “coup d’etat” on the part of individuals who take pride in being “almighty” and are attempting to “sabotage” his conduct.
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Since the political crisis of 2015, Mr Bunyoni had long been regarded as the regime’s genuine number two as well as the head of the hardliners among the generals who had positions of authority behind the scenes.
The Imbonerakure, the youth league of the ruling party, the CNDD-FDD, and the National Intelligence Service have all helped the dictatorship maintain its iron hold on the country since the end of a civil war that tore through the nation between 1993 and 2006 and killed 300,000 lives.
Despite the fact that there has been some openness in the nation since Evariste Ndayishimiye took office in June 2020 following the unexpected death of Pierre Nkurunziza, a UN commission of inquiry concluded in September 2021 that the state of human rights in Burundi remained “disastrous.”
Burundi has had a number of murders and battles between the Hutu and Tutsi populations, which together make up 85% and 14% of the country’s population since it gained its independence in 1962.
According to the World Bank, Burundi, a landlocked nation in the Great Lakes area, is the poorest nation in the world in terms of GDP per person and 75% of its 12 million citizens are thought to live below the poverty line.
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