Burundi says U.N. office break-in may have been fabrication

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 15, 2017 1:57 PM

By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) - A break-in at the U.N. human rights office in Burundi's capital may have been an attempt to smear the government, a presidential aide told reporters on Friday in Geneva.

U.N. staff in Burundi filed a complaint with police after a group of armed men broke into the office in Bujumbura at around 2.30 a.m. on Wednesday, a U.N. spokeswoman said.

Nobody was hurt and there was no damage in the attack, which came a week after a U.N. human rights inquiry said Burundian officials at the highest level should be held accountable for crimes against humanity.

Willy Nyamitwe, senior communications officer in the office of the president, said the two guards at the office had been arrested and it was probably not a simple burglary.

"What the police have already said is apparently there was no attack coming from the outside, which certainly means the guards would seem to be complicit. But ... we should wait for the final conclusions of this investigation."

Nyamitwe is expected to respond to the allegations at the U.N. Human Rights Council next week. Burundi has rejected the findings of the U.N. inquiry, which Nyamitwe said was a puppet of the European Union.

U.N. human rights spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell called for an investigation of the break-in that complied with international legal procedures.

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)