Kigingi was arrested on Tuesday by Burundi’s National Intelligence Service (SNR), after poking fun at the country’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza. He has been charged with insulting the president. His family now fears that he may suffer the same fate as others taken by the SNR, who rights groups say are commonly tortured or simply disappeared.
Many hare reported to have died in jail. SNR officers told the relative that Mugenzi was arrested for contempt of the head of state, after a skit he performed in neighbouring Rwanda last year. In the skit, he lampooned football-mad third-term Nkurunziza, showing him refusing to leave the pitch despite receiving two yellow cards.
Nkurunziza’s refusal to stand down after two terms and instead run for a controversial third mandate in 2015, triggered bloody unrest, a failed military coup and months of violence that has killed hundreds of people and driven a many to flee the country.