File photo: AFP

Bujumbura - Eight members of a Burundian WhatsApp political discussion group have been detained at the police jail in the capital Bujumbura, police said on Wednesday.

They were meeting when police arrested them last Saturday.

National police spokesperson Pierre Nkurikiye told ANA on Wednesday that they are accused of “sending out libellous and insulting writings against institutions and authorities on the social media networks”. Police arrested 54 members of the group but released 46 of them soon after. “They had gathered in a pub in the town centre where they were preparing to write and send out their writings through social media networks like Facebook and Twitter,” Nkurikiye said.

Since the government shut down the main independent media after the failed coup in May last year, social networks have become almost the main source of information. For example, the most famous and read media collective, SOS Media Burundi, uses social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to publish information. However, the Burundi government keeps accusing some independent media and social networks of spreading rumours.

African News Agency