Two Burundi officials have been arrested after their town’s football team allegedly “roughed up” President Pierre Nkurunziza who was playing during a match with his personal team.

According to AFP, the administrator of the northern town of Kiremba, Cyriaque Nkezabahizi as well as his deputy, Michel Mutama who is in charge of sport, had been charged with “conspiracy against the president” on Thursday.

Nkurunziza, a ‘born-again’ evangelical Christian, and his team Haleluya FC faced a side from the northern town of Kiremba On 3 February.

Normally, the opposition is well aware they are playing against the country’s president, and it has been said they go easy in the games, even perhaps allowing Nkurunziza to score.

But as the Kiremba team contained Congolese refugees who did not know they were playing against Burundi’s president, they “attacked” each time he had the ball and made him fall several times.

“These Congolese obviously didn’t know President Nkurunziza because they roughed him up during the match, attacking each time he had the ball and making him fall several times while the Burundian players were careful not to get too close to him,” one witness said.

President Nkurunziza and his government were in 2017 implicated in a United Nations report that said there was strong evidence of crimes against humanity that had been committed in the country.

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