Public tensions between the governments of Burundi and Rwanda have risen after it emerged that many Rwandan nationals are being held by Burundian security agencies. On Saturday 22 August, Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo posted a message on Twitter in which she said Rwanda's government had "raised the issue with [the] Burundi Government in many ways", including via its ambassador to Rwanda, Rwanda's embassy in Bujumbura and Burundi's foreign minister.
The minister's tweet came as more than 30 Rwandans travelling to Bujumbura were "disembarked on several occasions, arrested and taken to unknown destinations", according to the New Times. Earlier this month, two Rwandans were held in Bujumbura, Burundi, on allegations of espionage.
Joseph Mbonyinshuti and Aimé Nkundabatware were held at a facility in Kirundo Province for about a week before being transferred to Bujumbura and handed over to the crime investigations department. Rwanda's ambassador to Burundi, Amadin Rugira, insisted the charges were "fake".
In a later tweet, however, Mushikiwabo said that Burundi "has complex difficulties" and that there was "no need to add Rwanda". The minister added that "Burundians are welcome to Rwanda any time". More than 72,000 Burundian refugees currently live in Rwanda.
Widespread use of torture: Amnesty
The news comes as Amnesty International published a damning report on Monday 24 August, in which it reported that Burundi security forces used iron bars and acid to force confessions and crush opposition during President Pierre Nkurunziza's successful bid for a third term in office.
The report also accuses both the police and National Intelligence Service (SNR) of carrying out "torture and other ill-treatment" since 26 April 2015 against people suspected of participating in protests against Nkurunziza's controversial bid.
The findings echo similar testimonies gathered by IBTimes UK, including one in which a man said he was forced to hang five-litre jerry can from his testicles and another in which a man claimed police officers tortured him with tear gas until he choked.
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