BUJUMBURA — Burundi police arrested a journalist for alleged "treason" Saturday over an article questioning whether the security forces could deal with an attack like one that hit Uganda a week ago, an official said.
The July 11 bombings in Kampala claimed by Al Qaeda-inspired rebels killed at least 73 people watching the World Cup final in what the insurgents said was retaliation for Ugandan troops serving in Somalia, where Burundi also has soldiers participating in an African Union force.
"The police arrested the director of Netpress on a warrant issued by the prosecutor of the republic and which had as motive 'treason'," police Colonel David Nikiza told AFP.
Jean-Claude Kavumbagu, head of the online news outlet, was later detained at the central prison at Bujumbura, relatives and prison officials said.
"The authorities are reproaching Kavumbagu for an article that appeared on July 12 and which questioned the capacity of the Burundi defence and security forces to face an Islamist attack like that which has just hit Kampala," a Netpress journalist told AFP on condition of anonymity.
In the article that appeared Wednesday, Netpress wrote that "since Monday morning, the anxiety has been palpable in Bujumbura for all those who have heard about what happened yesterday at Kampala because they are convinced that if these Shebab militants wanted to try something in our country, they would succeed with disconcerting ease."
This was because "our defence and security forces shine in their capacity to pillage and kill their compatriots rather than defend their country," it continued.
It is the fifth time that Kavumbagu, 45, has been imprisoned for his work. In September 2008 he was arrested on charges of defamation before being acquitted in March 2009.
The bombs blasts in Uganda were the worst attacks since the 1998 Al-Qaeda bombing against the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
A spokesman for Shebab has warned Burundi it could be next on the list. The country's army said it had stepped up security in response.
Uganda and Burundi have troops in an AU force in Mogadishu to support Somalia's transitional federal government.
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