The National Intelligence Service (French: Service national de renseignement, or SNR) is the state intelligence agency of Burundi. The SNR is headed by an administrator-general (administrateur général) who reports directly to the President of Burundi, while its individual agents report both to the SNR hierarchy and the public prosecutor.[1] It runs its own detention facilities and is separate from the National Police of Burundi (Police nationale du Burundi, PNB) and the National Defence Force (Force de defense nationale, FDN).

History and role

The SNR superseded the National Security Service (Surêté nationale) founded under the regime of Jean-Baptiste Bagaza in 1984 which was popularly known as the "National Documentation" (Documentation nationale). It was reorganised in 2006 under the regime of Pierre Nkurunziza with a mission of "research, centralization, and exploitation of all information of a political, security, economic and social nature necessary for the government to act to guarantee the security of the state".[2] Its members wear plain clothes and are often recruited from among former members of the Forces for the Defense of Democracy (Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie, FDD) militia who fought for Nkurunziza in the Burundian Civil War.[3] It is one of the few Burundian government institutions not subject to the system of ethnic quotas imposed by the Arusha Accords.[4]

According to a 2006 report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), SNR agents "are known to be particularly brutal in carrying out their missions and to often act outside the law". It attributed 38 extrajudicial killings to SNR members in that year alone.[1] The SNR has been accused of numerous human rights abuses in connection to the political unrest in Burundi after 2015. HRW subsequently documented numerous allegations of torture perpetrated by the SNR, sometimes in collaboration with the National Police during this period.[5] In 2018 BBC News investigated allegations that the SNR had been running a "secret killing house" in Bujumbura where political activists hostile to Nkurunziza had been detained illegally, tortured, and killed.[6]

Administrators-General of the SNR

The following have served as Administrator-General (administrateur général) of the SNR since its inception:

See also


  1. ^ a b Human Rights Watch 2006, p. 3.
  2. ^ Human Rights Watch 2006, p. 8.
  3. ^ Human Rights Watch 2006, p. 9.
  4. ^ Human Rights Watch 2006, p. 10.
  5. ^ "Burundi: Intelligence Services Torture Suspected Opponents". Human Rights Watch. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Burundi: Inside the Secret Killing House". BBC News. 4 December 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Burundi : Le Général Étienne Ntakirutimana à la tête des services secrets". Agence France Presse. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  8. ^ Kamo, Chris (1 November 2019). "Burundi: Gen. Gervais Ndirakobuca Becomes The New SNR Boss". Great Lakes Post. Retrieved 11 June 2020.