Burundi: former Prime Minister Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni indicted
Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, a former prime minister of Burundi who was once a powerful figure, appeared in court on Monday, accused of insulting the president and undermining national security. Witnesses reported that Bunyoni wore the green uniform of prisoners in Burundi, and during the hearing, his pre-trial detention in Ngozi prison was extended.
He was formally charged on Friday with a range of crimes, including undermining the internal security of the state, undermining the proper functioning of the national economy, personal enrichment, illegal possession of weapons, and insulting the president.
Bunyoni, who had served as prime minister since June 2020, was removed from office on September 7, 2022, by President Evariste Ndayishimiye, who accused some of his opponents of plotting a coup d’etat. Bunyoni had long been considered the regime’s true number two and the leader of the hardliners among the generals who worked behind the scenes of power.
Burundi has been held in an iron grip by the regime since the end of a civil war that ravaged the country between 1993 and 2006, thanks to the ruling party’s youth league, the CNDD-FDD, and the National Intelligence Service. While the international community has welcomed a certain openness in the country since Ndayishimiye came to power in June 2020, a UN Commission of Inquiry affirmed in September 2021 that the situation of human rights remained “disastrous” in Burundi.
Burundi, a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region, is the poorest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita, with 75% of its 12 million inhabitants estimated to live below the poverty line. Since its independence in 1962, Burundi has been the scene of numerous massacres and conflicts between the Hutu and Tutsi communities, respectively estimated at 85% and 14% of its population.