Burundian Police Surround WHO Rep.
BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) _ Burundian police surrounded the home of the World Health Organization representative Thursday, placing him under house arrest. News reports said the action was linked to the slaying last year of his boss.
Police refused to comment on the case and prevented journalists from attempting to contact WHO interim country director Dr. Diara Lamine. The United Nations health agency’s office in Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital, also declined to answer any questions concerning Lamine.
Lamine, from Mali, became the interim WHO country director when his boss, Dr. Kassi Manlan, was killed. Manlan, from Ivory Coast, who had been the WHO resident representative in Burundi for three months, was found dead Nov. 20 by fishermen on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in Bujumbura. Witnesses said Manlan’s body had a head wound.
Two security guards were arrested the following day and Burundi’s general prosecutor, Gerard Ngendabanka, told journalists at the time that ``inquiries revealed some WHO high ranked officials were among suspects.″
Ngendabanka later told journalists that he had asked the WHO to rescind Lamine’s diplomatic immunity ``in order to allow police to carry out investigations.″
Independent Burundian radio stations reported Thursday morning that Lamine was placed under house arrest in connection with the slaying.
WHO spokeswoman Melinda Henry said from Geneva that the organization had no comment, including on whether the organization had agreed to lift Lamine’s diplomatic immunity.
``WHO is following this pending investigation and can’t comment on it as it is ongoing,″ she said.
Gertrude Nyamoya, personal assistant to Manlan, was arrested Dec. 21 at Bujumbura airport while trying to board a flight for Nairobi, Kenya, and held for questioning for 40 days. She has been jailed since early February.