Fighters loyal to rebel leader Pierre Nkurunziza released on Wednesday one Member of Parliament and four others out of 11 people they had kidnapped last week in Ruyigi Province, eastern Burundi.
"We decided to release five hostages, among them [MP] Mrs Veronique Nizigama, because they have nothing to do with the conflict between our movement and the FRODEBU party," Gelase Daniel Ndabirabe, the spokesman for the Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Force pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD), told IRIN on Thursday.
All female hostages were among those released, he said. He added that the others, who include three MPs, would "probably" be released after investigation.
"We are still questioning them to know what they were doing in a territory controlled by FDD," he said.
The rebels said Saturday’s kidnapping it was a warning to the Burundian government to end a propaganda campaign against the group.
The CNDD-FDD secretary-general, Hussein Radjabu, said on Monday that the Front pour la democratie au Burundi (FRODEBU) had tried to discredit the group's image before the international community by saying the movement was against peace.
During the 41st anniversary of Burundi's independence on Tuesday, President Domitien Ndayizeye asked the CNDD-FDD to release the four MPs immediately and without condition. The president is a member of FRODEBU.
"If the CNDD-FDD continues to be obstinate, the government will take appropriate decisions to remedy such ignoble acts," Ndayizeye said.
The kidnapped MPs are the deputy secretary-general of the parliament, Pierre Barusasiyeko; the head of the parliament's Human Rights Commission, Leonidas Ntibayazi; Fabien Bankinyakamwe and Nizigama, who was released on Wednesday.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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