Rwanda dismisses ‘childish’ Burundi spy claim

Rwanda on Sunday dismissed as “childish” and baseless a claim by neighbouring Burundi that a man arrested on the border was a spy.

Burundi security forces on Saturday paraded before journalists the man they said was an army corporal on a spying mission to “destabilise” the country, cranking up tensions between Bujumbura and Kigali.

But Rwandan army spokesman Joseph Nzabamwita said the allegation was nonsense.

“The RDF (Rwanda Defence Force) has no missing soldiers, no such name exists in the RDF,” he told AFP. “The accusations are childish, ridiculous and lack credibility.”

Burundi named the man as Corporal Rucyahintare Cyprien, arrested last Monday in Rushenya on the Rwandan border.

Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said he had carried out three spying missions intended to “destabilise” Burundi, giving out an army matriculation number which Nzabamwita said did not exist.

Relations between Burundi and Rwanda are at a low ebb, with Bujumbura and the United Nations both accusing Kigali of supporting Burundian rebels.

Burundi has been in political crisis since April last year when President Pierre Nkurunziza controversially decided to run for a third term which he went on to win in a July election.

The subsequent unrest has left 400 people dead, while some 250,000 have left the country and violent attacks have become a daily routine, raising fears of a return to the civil war fought between 1993-2006.
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