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Africa

No credibility to Burundi spying allegations, Rwandan military

media Alleged Rwandan spy Corporal Cyprien Rucyahintare presented to the press … AFP Photo

The Rwandan military on Sunday denied the existence of an alleged spy operating in neighbouring Burundi, saying accusations by the Burundian police were without any credibility. Burundian authorities said on Saturday that a man, whom they named as  Corporal Rucyahintare Cyprien, was arrested in Rushenya on the Rwandan border during a “spying mission”.

“There's no Rwandan spy and that accusation is not only childish but is ridiculous and lacks credibility,” said Rwandan military spokesman Joseph Nzabamwita.

“Rwandan security forces have no such name and that person does not exist at all,” Nzabamwita told RFI.

The alleged spy was paraded before journalists on Saturday with the Burundian police saying that he had been carrying out his third mission in Burundi with the intention of destabilising the country.

“The soldier does not exist at all, so it’s just a preposterous allegation,” said Nzabamwita, adding that he was not sure if the alleged spy was a Rwandan national or not.

The man appeared in a white T-shirt and displayed no visible signs of abuse when he was presented to the media at the offices of the National Intelligence Service. He spoke to journalists in Kinyarwanda, the official language of Rwanda, and supposedly confessed to having entered Burundi for espionage.

He had first entered Burundi in May 2015 to help extract the plotters of a failed coup and then in November 2015 to gather intelligence for attacks on VIPs, according to Burundi police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye, cited by the AFP news agency.

“He must have been under duress because whatever he uttered does not tally well with the facts on the ground,” said Nzabamwita. “It lacks credibility - a person who does not know his command."

Rwandan security forces are not carrying out any operations on Burundian soil, Nzabamwita said, calling it a “stupid allegation”.

“Why would Rwandan security forces operate in Burundi?” he asked.

Burundian authorities said the alleged spy’s latest mission was to negotiate with an order of nuns to work out if they could hide 200 fighters involved in attacks in the country.

Relations between the neighbouring countries have deteriorated since Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term.

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