The spectators entering the courtroom last week knew something was wrong before they even stepped inside: Police were there at the doors, forcing people to surrender their cellphones. There was something inside the authorities didn’t want photographed or recorded.
The administrative center of Burundi’s eastern Muyinga province had been shaken awake a few days earlier, on January 24 at 2 a.m., when unknown men allegedly attacked the town’s military base, Camp Mukoni. Later in the day, an army spokesperson claimed the base hadn’t been attacked but rather armed thieves had attacked soldiers on patrol nearby. Rumors continued to swirl.