The reason behind the arrests was not immediately known. Such arrests have been common in recent years in Burundi, where watchdogs have accused the current and previous administrations of targeting critics and stifling dissent.
Anschaire Nikoyagize, the president of Ligue Iteka, the country’s oldest human rights organization, confirmed the arrests.
Those detained are Audace Havyarimana, legal representative of the Association for Peace and the Promotion of Human Rights; Sylvana Inamahoro, the group’s executive director; Sonia Ndikumasabo, president of the Association of Women Lawyers of Burundi; and Marie Emerusabe, the association’s general coordinator.
There was no immediate statement from Burundian authorities. General prosecutor Sylvestre Nyandwi and the spokeswoman for the office of the prosecutor, Agnès Bangiricenge, did not respond to requests for comment.
On a recent visit in Burundi, the European Union special representative for human rights, Eamon Gilmore, expressed concerns about “human rights challenges” there.
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