Burundi has welcomed the closure of three radios that had been broadcasting from Rwanda since 2015.
The radios; Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), Télé Renaissance and Radio Inzamba – all released a joint statement on March 24 announcing the decision to halt operations immediately. Their statement came as a surprised, as there had been no single indication that such action was coming.
In their statement, the three broadcasters said the decision to go off air was done at “our own will”.
However, Sonia Ines Niyubahwe, the spokesperson of Burundi’s foreign affairs ministry, said this Friday that the issue of radios operating from Rwanda was one of the issues discussed at meeting of foreign ministers from both sides.
Rwanda’s foreign affairs minister Dr Vincent Biruta and Burundi counterpart Albert Shingiro met on October 20 last year at the Nemba border. It was a meeting following that of military intelligence chiefs two months earlier.
At the Biruta-Shingiro meeting, after the pleasantries, each side said following the encounter that they had exchanged a “list of demands”.
Niyubahwe, the spokesperson of Burundi’s foreign affairs ministry said today that closing the radios operating from Rwanda by exiled journalists was part of Burundi’s demands.
She said the talks between Kigali and Gitega are still going on behind the scenes. Niyubahwe was speaking at a Burundi government press conference organized every 3 months.
Burundi also wants those it says are leaders of the failed coup in 2015, handed over by Rwanda since they are hiding here with Kigali’s knowledge. Rwanda for its part says it will not hand over anyone, instead preferring forwarding those on its territory to a third country.