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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two Burundian policemen stoned to death

Authorities in Burundi say two policemen have been stoned to death by a crowd who accused them of stealing.

An official in the eastern province of Ruyigi said people started throwing stones at the policemen after one of the officers shot at them.

Correspondents say many Burundians feel that there is a culture of impunity within the police force.

The authorities say they will try to educate the population not to resort to mob justice.

New force

Police spokesman Channel Ntarabaganyi told the BBC's Great Lakes service that the officers were off duty when they went into a village brandishing weapons in order to steal.

He says that the villagers returned a weapon and two grenades that the off duty officers were carrying to the police.

Mr Ntarabaganyi added that he did not blame the villagers for being angry.

More than 100 policemen have been imprisoned for violent offences in Burundi since a new force was formed in 2005.

The force included former rebels who had fought in the civil war.

In April 2009, African Union troops began physically disarming 21,000 fighters from Burundi's last active rebel group, the Forces for National Liberation (FNL).

Of these, some 3,500 combatants were to be integrated into the army and police.

More than 300,000 people were killed in the civil war sparked in 1993 by the assassination of Burundi's first Hutu head of state and democratically elected president, Melchior Ndadaye.

Source: BBC

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