Two foreign journalists including a French and a British national working for the France-based Le Monde Newspaper were Thursday arrested at Nyakabiga in the Burundian capital Bujumbura, police sources told Xinhua on Friday.
“The two foreign journalists were arrested yesterday (Thursday) around 16:30 (14:30 GMT) at Nyakabiga between the 5th and the 6th avenues over complicity with criminals. The first one who was a British journalist was arrested along with four Burundian criminals when they were escaping security forces that surprised them while they were holding a meeting to destabilize security,” said Burundian Police Deputy-Spokesman Moise Nkurunziza.
Nkurunziza added that the second journalist of French national citizenship came a few minutes later to see his colleague and was also arrested.
“Some citizens warned security forces that criminals were holding a meeting and then realized that it was true. Upon seeing that security forces had seen them, they ran away along with the British journalist,” said Nkurunziza.
He indicated that the four criminals who were arrested with the British journalist had two pistols with two chargers.
Nkurunziza stressed that security forces were surprised to see that the journalist ran along with the criminals.
“They also suspected the other (French) journalist who came only a few minutes later to the rescue of his British colleague,” said Nkurunziza.
Nkurunziza however did not reveal where French Jean Philippe Remy and British Phil Moore spent their night, adding that they are “safe” in the hands of security forces for further investigations.
Both Jean Philippe Remy and Phil Moore are journalists for France-based newspaper Le Monde, but Phil Moore is also a photojournalist working for the Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Nyakabiga is one of neighborhoods in the capital Bujumbura that were active during protests against Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term bid by the end of April 2015.
Since April 2015, with the outbreak of protests against the third term bid of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza and his controversial re-election in July, violence has left over 400 dead in the east African nation, according to civil society groups.