Rwandan singer Melodie arrested in Burundi for fraud

Famous Rwandan singer Bruce Melodie has been arrested in Burundi on allegations of fraud, shortly after arriving in the country to perform concerts, the Burundian Interior Ministry announced on Thursday. Uniformed and plainclothes police stopped the musician’s car on Wednesday evening as he was returning from the airport in Bujumbura, Burundi’s economic capital, and then handcuffed him, witnesses told AFP.

“Bruce Melodie is in police custody, under investigation for fraud”, indicated the Ministry of the Interior on Twitter, without further details.

The arrest of the Rwandan star, who was to give two concerts in Burundi on Thursday and Friday, was linked to the cancellation of performances in 2018 and 2021. The interior ministry canceled the concerts at the last minute, saying first due to a diplomatic crisis between Rwanda and Burundi and the second time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“One of the organizers (of the concert), Toussaint Niyukuri, filed a complaint with the police and demanded that the Rwandan singer reimburse a deposit of $2,000 that he had paid to him at the time,” he told AFP a relative of the musician on condition of anonymity.

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The plaintiff also asked the singer, real name Itahiwacu Bruce, to pay “a sum which has increased from 30 million to 60 million Burundian francs ($14,650 to $29,300) and which, according to him, represents all the expenses incurred prior to the cancellation of those concerts.” He added that the singer was “willing to pay some of that money” on the condition that he be released.

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