Burundi arrests 8 Pakistani preachers

The arrests come less than a week after the US embassy in Burundi warned its citizens in the central African country that terror organisations, including Somalia`s Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab, could carry out attacks.

Last Updated: Feb 07, 2011, 23:18 PM IST

Bujumbura: Burundian police arrested eight
Pakistani Muslim preachers in a mosque in the central province
of Gitega overnight, police and local officials said Monday.

"A group of eight people calling themselves Pakistani
Muslim preachers arrived... two days ago and started holding
unauthorised meetings, day and night, in the Bihororo mosque,"
local official Alexis Manirakiza said.

"Residents became suspicious at the presence of these
foreigners in a remote area at a time when there is a terror
threat from Somali Islamists and they informed the police," he
said.

The eight were arrested, together with two Burundians
who were with them.

A police officer who asked not to be named said the
eight were travelling on Pakistani passports.

"We`re investigating to find out exactly who they are
and what they were doing in this part of the world without
informing the security services or the administrative
authorities," the officer said.

The arrests come less than a week after the US embassy
in Burundi warned its citizens in the central African country
that terror organisations, including Somalia`s
Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab, could carry out attacks in February.

Security measures have been stepped up since last
week, with soldiers and police now patrolling the streets of
the capital.

Burundi contributes almost half of the more than 8,000
African Union troops deployed in Mogadishu to prop up a weak
pro-Western transitional federal government which the Shebab
have been trying to topple for two years.

PTI