Burundi: What is the truth about the 1972 killings? (Second part)

Michel MICOMBERO 1966-1976

Burundi: What is the truth about the 1972 killings? (Second part)
We saw in our yesterday edition that Belgium was at the base of the divisions between Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi as in Rwanda. Our analysis also showed us that the Hutus of Burundi always sought to imitate the case of Rwanda which claimed to have succeeded what they called the revolution of Kayibanda (revolution of the majority), during which thousands of Tutsis were massacred, others driven out of the territory and those who remained in the country were ill-treated (deprived of the fundamental rights of the citizen). They continued to prepare for large-scale genocide, which culminated in the irreparable of 1994.
Hutu extremists in Burundi have always tried to imitate their Master Rwanda. We begin today with this attempt to depose and kill King Mwambutsa and take responsibility for his death from the Tutsis to exterminate them.
Certain politicians (including Antoine Burarame, Minister of Finance) and parliamentarians (including Benyaguje, Bamina, Nyangoma Gervais), not to mention soldiers and gendarmes (including Major Antoine Serukwavu, Secretary of State for the Gendarmerie, native of Kirundo, Lieutenant Bunanambe, from Jenda, Captain Birorero from Mugara in Rumonge) held a meeting in Gatsinda in Mwumba commune , Ngozi province. At the end of this meeting, they decided to dismiss King Mwambutsa, kill him and say that the Tutsis are ones responsible; a pretext to exterminate all Tutsis, and this throughout the country. This is why the Mirerekano youth were organized and prepared to take action when the time came. National radio should announce the death so that all the people know about it.
The coup was foiled by Captain Michel Micombero, then Secretary of State for Defence, along with Captain Paul Rusiga. They were able to save King Mwambutsa and the country from this genocide. The Mirerekano youth who had been prepared to kill any Tutsi except women and girls because they hoped to marry them, nevertheless started to kill since the morning of October 20, 1965 in 3 communes, Busangana, Bukeye, Bugarama. They systematically killed Tutsis in these communes until they gutted pregnant women to verify that they were not carrying boys. The Bumari and Ryume families are eyewitnesses to these events. The Commander of the Ngozi Brigade was killed by these young Mirerekano at the place called ‘’ ku mazi y’umwami ’’ (royal water) when he was going down to Bujumbura. He was trying to calm them down.
Those who planned the coup subsequently fled the country. Major Antoine Serukwavu took refuge in Rwanda where he died; Captain Birorero fled to Tanzania where he organized a group of rebels who would attack Burundi in 1972
After this attempted coup, King Mwambutsa felt that there was danger in the country, that perhaps the people did not want him, he fled the country to Switzerland; he even made a will that he will never return to Burundi. He ended his days in Switzerland. In 1966, the Bashingantahe Council asked for the heir son to be enthroned because it was unthinkable for them that the king should continue to rule the country while in Switzerland. This is how Ntare v was inducted at a very young age with Captain Michel Micombero at his side to support him in the direction of the country. Micombero was then appointed Prime Minister. It was him who would eventually depose the King by ending the monarchy and begun the First Republic in 1966.
Micombero also had no easy task in managing the country. Hutu extremists continued to harbour hopes that the Rwandan revolution was still possible in Burundi. Having found that Hutus (in the majority) and Tutsis wanted to live in peace and in mutual respect as advocated by Prince Louis Rwagasore during the independence of the country, the Hutu extremists then began to play regional cards to divide the Burundians and thus destabilize the power of the young Micombero at the head of the country. In 1967 and 1969 soldiers suspected of organizing coups were arrested and executed. It should be noted here that the so-called planners were of the Hutu ethnicity. In 1971, another group, this time whose leaders were Tutsis from Jenda and Muramvya (what they called the Ntungumburanye affair), these people were saved because of the bravery of Nduwayo Leonard, then Attorney General of the republic, in collaboration it seems of Monsignor Michel Ntuyahaga, who refused to President Micombero to condemn people without visible evidence (on mere suspicion). The history of Burundi will retain the name of Nduwayo Leonard, a true mushingantahe (who is not afraid to tell the truth), someone who dared to deliver fair justice despite the risk he was running at the moment. He would have subsequently been removed from office following these disagreements with the president and would have fled the country.
Seeing that these people were not killed like the previous cases, Hutu extremists saw in them a system of « double standards », an injustice towards them. They then kept this grudge. Always remembering the case of neighbouring Rwanda, this is why they never stopped trying to do other things. In our next edition, we will talk about the events of 1972
URN HITAMWONEZA ( Union for the Rebirth of the Nation ) regrets all Burundians who lose their lives without reason and will always ask for independent justice so that the culprits of these different crimes (whoever it is, dead or alive) are punished in accordance with the law. It is the only way to reconcile the Burundian people and let future generations grow up in a peaceful country.

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