Radio journalist arrested and held without charge in Burundi

New York, November 9, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Burundian authorities to release radio journalist Blaise Célestin Ndihokubwayo, who was arrested Friday, according to reports.

Ndihokubwayo, a reporter for the privately owned station Radio Isanganiro, was arrested by soldiers while covering unrest outside the capital, Bujumbura, according to news reports. The journalist was handed to the National Intelligence Service in the capital, according to news reports and a post on the Facebook page of SOS Médias Burundi, a collective of Burundian journalists reporting from exile. Ndihokubwayo has not been charged or told the reason for his arrest, his outlet reported.

Radio Isanganiro was among several privately owned radio stations that came under attack for reporting on events in Bujumbura during an attempted coup in May, according to CPJ research. The situation in Burundi remains volatile after the failed coup and the contested reelection of President Pierre Nkurunziza in July, according to reports. Dozens of journalists are among the thousands of citizens who have fled violence in the country, CPJ has found.

“Ever since the attempted coup in May, the independent press in Burundi has been under attack,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “Many journalists have fled the country. Those who remain are trying to work but the authorities seem intent on preventing them from covering hard news. This must stop.”

Radio Isanganiro and its website cover mostly current events and politics, according to the website.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Ndihokubwayo has been arrested, according to reports. He was detained for a few hours on October 27, while covering unrest in northern Bujumbura, according to a November 8 Facebook post on SOS Médias Burundi. Ndihokubwayo was not told the reason for his arrest on that occasion, the post said.