Four unidentified armed men reportedly abducted a political opposition member from the Union for Peace and Development (UPD) party in the capital Bujumbura on Tuesday, September 12. The abduction occurred at approximately 07:30 (local time) in east of the city. According to the UPD leader (currently in exile), this mode of operation corresponds to methods used by the National Intelligence Service against the opposition.
Political violence persists throughout Burundi in the aftermath of the country's contested July 2015 elections. While the country appears to be experiencing a period of relative calm (in comparison to the violent outbreaks seen throughout 2015 and 2016) the situation remains worrisome, particularly in Bujumbura, where the chance of politically-motivated outbreaks of violence remains possible.
This violence has resulted in between 500 and 2000 deaths, according to UN and NGO sources, as well as hundreds of forced disappearances and torture cases. The situation has also led to the exile of more than 425,000 Burundians. On September 4, the UN issued the results of its inquiry into alleged human rights violations perpetrated by the Burundi government in the wake of violence that began in April 2015. The report claims that senior security officials and members of the ruling party, Imbonerakure, were responsible for widespread human rights violations, including torture, sexual violence, arbitrary arrest, and extrajudicial executions. The International Criminal Court opened a similar investigation into violence in Burundi in 2016.
Individuals present in Burundi should avoid public gatherings, especially those with no visible security presence, and are advised to maintain a high level of vigilance at all times. Maintain extra vigilance in crowded places such as churches, markets, cafes, and bus stations.