UN angered by detentions of Burundi journalist, activist

BUJUMBURA, June 27, 2006 (AFP) – The United Nations said Tuesday it was angered by the continued detentions of a Burundian journalist and a peace activist who it said were being held in violation of their rights.

The UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) said the detention of the two men, both of whom were arrested last month for allegedly threatening state security,

"was contrary to Burundi’s legal procedure and an affront to public freedom."

"ONUB is indignant at the fate of two Burundian citizens in detention for several weeks," it said in a statement, referring to Terence Nahimana and Aloyse Kabura.

Authorities arrested Nahimana, a peace activist, on May 10 and Kabura, a journalist with the state-run news agency on May 31. Nahimana is being held in Bujumbura’s Mpimba prison while Kabura at a provincial jail north of the capital.

ONUB said it was particularly concerned about Kabura whose health is reportedly deteriorating and who "must use crutches to move due to poor conditions" in the jail.

"ONUB asks Burundi authorities to respect human rights and guarantee good and democratic governance," it said.

"Burundi needs, more than ever, to show the public and the international community its commitment to human rights and preserve what is has achieved," it added, noting the election last year of a new power-sharing government.

That creation of that government was the culmination of a peace process intended to bring about an end to Burundi’s 13-year ethnically driven civil war that has claimed some 300,000 lives.

But since it was formed local and international human rights groups have repeatedly accused the government and the tiny central African nation’s last active rebel group of violating human rights.