Amb. Amandin Rugira, the Rwandan envoy to Bujumbura, said they were interested in knowing circumstances surrounding the arrest.

Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) ), a media self-regulatory body, yesterday called on Burundian authorities to release Etienne Besabesa who, it said, was arrested in Burundi?s border district of Giteranyi and later reportedly transferred Muyinga district.

Besabesa works for Radio Izuba, Radio Flash and, and by the time of his arrest, he was covering a story about the continued influx of Burundians into Rwanda.

?We also read (about the arrest) it in the papers. We are now trying to get information about the reasons behind.

We heard that he didn?t have any travel document but we are trying to get official information,? Rugira told The New Times yesterday.

In a statement, RMC called for the journalist?s ?immediate release? and urged Burundian authorities to ensure his personal safety and that of his professional equipment.

RMC says it is ?very worried? about Besabesa?s safety and called on Rwandan security agencies to collaborate with their Burundian counterparts to ensure the safety and release of the journalist.

Over 31,000 Burundian refugees have fled to Rwanda over the last two months in the wake of political unrest sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza?s bid for a third term in office, which opposition and civil society groups say is unconstitutional and a violation of a 2005 peace deal that ended years of civil war.

In all, more than 100,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring countries.

Statistics show that at least 40 Burundians have lost their lives in the going unrest, marked by violent street protests and a failed coup.

James Karuhanga, The New Times


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