April 9, 2009 / 3:16 PM / 10 years ago

Burundi anti-graft activist murdered: police

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - An anti-corruption activist was murdered in a knife attack in Burundi on Thursday, police in the central African nation said on Thursday.

Ernest Manirumva, who suffered stab wounds to the head, was the deputy chairman of a Burundi corruption watchdog known as OLUCOME. His body was found on Thursday morning inside his house in the capital Bujumbura, witnesses told Reuters.

“Manirumva was assassinated after midnight,” said a police spokesman. “We don’t yet know the people who committed the crime but investigations have started.”

Manirumva’s colleagues in the anti-graft body say his murder can be linked to their organisation’s activities.

“Many people here are not happy about the job we are doing, especially those involved in corruption files,” said Richard Ntawe, spokesman for OLUCOME. “Maybe the people who killed our colleague want us to shut up.”

OLUCOME, often critical of Burundi authorities, targets allegations of bribery in government and business. Its latest report said 24 billion Burundi francs was lost in 2008 through corruption or unfair tendering processes, in which state officials are implicated.

The organisation says it has investigated thousands of corruption and embezzlement cases, which have cost Burundians 236 billion francs over the past five years.

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