Burundi: Two officials arrested after president ‘roughed up’ during amateur football match


Two officials in Burundi have been arrested after President Pierre Nkurunziza was “roughed up” by players for their town’s football team during an amateur match.

Local sources say the administrator of the northern town of Kiremba as well as his deputy, who is in charge of sport, have been charged with “conspiracy against the president” after Nkurunziza was the victim of rough play during a football game.

President ‘roughed up’ during football match

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza plays up to three football matches every week with his personal team, Allelua FC. Earlier this month, Nkurunziza took to the pitch to play against the local team in Kiremba where official Cyriaque Nkezabahizi and his deputy Michel Mutama apparently recruited Congolese refugees as players from a camp in the town.

Unaware they were playing against Burundi’s president, the refugees failed to show Nkurunziza the usual preferential treatment, according to witnesses.

“These Congolese obviously didn’t know President Nkurunziza because they roughed him up during the match, attacking each time he had the ball and making him fall several times while the Burundian players were careful not to get too close to him,” one witness said.

Nkurunziza, a former sports professor at the University of Burundi, spends at least half of his week travelling with Allelua FC and his choir. Meanwhile, his government are pushing for constitutional changes that would allow him to run again for president in Burundi’s 2020 election.

Featured image: By Copyright World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org)/Eric Miller, mailto:emiller@iafrica.com emiller@iafrica.com) – Pierre Nkurunziza – World Economic Forum on Africa 2008, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5685472

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.