Posted on February 17, 2005

Thieves Burned Alive in Burundi

BBC News, Feb. 15

Angry taxi drivers in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura have killed two people after they allegedly stole a motorbike.

The suspected thieves were chased down by hundreds of enraged motorbike taxi drivers who then put fuel-filled tyres around their necks and set them ablaze.

The BBC’s Prime Ndikumagenge says it happened near a police station, but the police did not intervene.

Local human rights organisation Iteka has condemned the attack and asked the authorities to prosecute the culprits.

The group says at least 11 people have been killed by vigilante groups in the past three months.

A motorcyclist told our correspondent that the two men were killed to teach a lesson to any other people planning to steal other people’s property.

He says they decided to act because those they had been handed over to the police in the past and freed the next day without any trial or sentence.

The head of the public security police did not want to comment on the case.

Iteka chairman Jean Marie Kavumbagu said the incident reflects frustrations with the inefficiency of Burundi’s judicial system.