Accessibility links

Burundi Opposition Leader Explains Disappearance

A top Burundian opposition leader has issued a recorded message explaining why he went into hiding last week.

In an audiotape made available to reporters, former rebel leader Agathon Rwasa says the government plans to arrest him on charges of planning to mount a new insurgency.

He said he is being targeted because he led the opposition in alleging that crucial local elections in May were rigged.

Rwasa disappeared about a week ago from his home in the capital, Bujumbura.

Burundian authorities say there is no warrant for his arrest. But Rwasa says the government has sent secret agents to look for him in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he is believed to be hiding.

Rwasa's FNL party came in second in the May 24 district elections, which were marked by violence. All opposition parties rejected the results of the polls, saying the vote was rigged.

The parties later withdrew from Burundi's presidential election, held Monday, leaving President Pierre Nkurunziza without a challenger.

On Tuesday, Rwasa confirmed to VOA's Central African Service that he is in hiding, saying he believes his life is in imminent danger. He did not reveal his location.

The FNL was the last rebel group to lay down its arms in Burundi's long civil war.

Burundi is holding a series of elections designed to cap a post-civil war transition to democracy.

Voters head to the polls again in July for two rounds of legislative elections followed by village elections in September.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.