Emmanuel Niyonkuru, Minister of Water, Environment and Urban Territory, 54, has been buried at Mpanda Cemetery in Bubanza Province, on 10 January. He was shot dead on the New Year’s Eve on his way home.
Burial ceremonies of the Minister of Environment have taken place in the capital Bujumbura. Relatives, different Burundian officials including the Head of State, two deputy presidents, Ministers, MPs, Ambassadors… were present at “Cathédrale Regina Mundi” for the celebration of requiem mass.
Vicar-general Anatole Ruberinyange, who directed the mass said celebrating the funeral of the Minister is to remind what he did when he was alive. “We are asked to use our talents to develop our community as we will report to God what we did on earth. Our achievements on earth should be positive. We must avoid killing other people”, he says.
Vicar-general Ruberinyange calls on all people to pray for the family, the country and for the minister’s criminals to change. “Emmanuel Niyonkuru was a kind and generous person. He hated injustice… his murderers need to change so that God may forgive them”, he says.
Relatives and former colleagues in the Ministry of Environment said Minister Emmanuel Niyonkuru was a father and hard worker. For them, he “leaves behind a gaping void”. “His death has discouraged us. He was a good manager”, says Rénilde Ndayishimiye, Director General of Burundi Geographic Institute(IGEBU).
Emmanuel Niyonkuru, a hard worker
The funeral ceremonies have continued at Mpanda cemetery in Bubanza Province. On behalf of Burundi Government, Gaston Sindimwo, First Vice President, says Burundi has lost one of its members unexpectedly. “He accomplished various works. He was a sportsman and drove his car freely as he reproached himself with nothing. Those who killed him think that they will not die. Only God knows our end and no one will escape death”, he says.
Sindimwo says Burundi Government is engaged to reveal the truth about his assassination. “Investigations are ongoing to identify the murderers”, he says.
The representative of the family said Emmanuel Niyonkuru has been innocently killed. “He has refused guards because he ignored that he would be killed. He did not reproach himself for anything”, he says. He also says that the family has got a chance to receive the body with full parts. “Others have their body parts cut or completely gone missing”, he says.
On behalf of DRC, Marcellin Cishambo, Governor of South Kivu said Burundi and DRC share the same security situation. “All eyes are on Burundi and East of DRC. We share peace and insecurity as well. We need a peaceful great Lakes region”, he says.
Different officials including the Governor of the Burundi National Bank-BRB where the Minister worked for about 24 years, sports family (basketball) and others have had their say during the funeral ceremonies which ended with the laying of wreaths on the minister’s grave.
Since Burundi has plunged into the current situation in April 2015, several high ranking officials have been murdered such as Lieutenant-General Adolphe Nshimirimana, Former Director General of the National Intelligence Service, Hafsa Mossi, EALA MP etc. and the failed assassination attempts of other officials including Prime Niyongabo, Chief of Army Staff and Willy Nyamitwe, Senior Advisor in charge of Information and communication to the President.