Burundi: What is the truth about the 1972 killings? (Third part)
We have already shown that the recourse to genocide that Hutu extremists often make dates from the time of Belgian colonization, and that the Rwandan model of 1959 is the great reference that often comes to mind. Now that they have power in their hands, and that they have driven out the majority of influential Tutsis and that those who remain in the country have been very weak in all areas, the idea of exterminating them has not yet left their memory. We talked about the attempts that have taken place since independence until 1971; sometimes it was ethnic cards, sometimes regional cards that were played to destabilize power and thus take action. We ended our edition of yesterday on this regional Bururi-Muranvya-Jenda map with the bravery of Leonard Nduwayo who refused to convict people without evidence as usual.
Today we are going to approach a very hot period which begins with April 29, 1972, a date which has been remembered by the Hutus as the beginning of what they called the Hutu genocide of 1972. We will talk about how things were organized, how they started that day and what happened next.
April 29, 1972
On that day, all the evidence converged on the fact that the government had organized dance parties throughout most of the country. In the capital Bujumbura, certain evenings were organized even in certain quarters. In the interior of the country, the evenings should take place in the chief towns of the provinces, arrondissement and municipalities by location. All the executives of these localities were invited to these evenings: political, military, administrative, judicial personalities, teachers, businessmen, students, in short, all those who counted these quarters of the capital and the chief towns of the various provinces. President Michel Micombero is expected to open the dance party to be held at the Bujumbura Garrison Officers’ Mess. The official objective of these evenings was only to have fun together, share a drink and make a kind of reconciliation after so many problems that had just shaken and that still shake Burundian society
Who organized these evenings and for what real purpose?
All the evidence converges to say that it was after the unfolding of the facts that they understood that genocide had been carefully planned to exterminate all Tutsis, including the head of state. This is why they had invited almost all Tutsi officials to these dancing evenings. It is said that even Tutsi officers, unit commanders and others were given time off to go home to participate in these evenings in their provinces and communes, a sort of fraternization with friends and neighbours. It was in this context that the commander of the Gitega commando company risked dying at his home in Vyanda.
Those who organized the coup were undoubtedly senior Hutu state officials; including ministers and officers. Certain testimonies affirm that this action was also supported by certain embassies in Burundi. An embassy adviser from country X alerted President Micombero on April 28, 1972 to a possible coup d’état planned by the people of Bururi.
This brings us precisely to the question of how such an action (organization of dance evenings throughout the country with the aim of killing Tutsis) is organized and authorized by President Micombero without his knowledge. Many analysts find his services, and even the president, to have been disoriented. They were focused on managing regional issues (Bururi-Muramvya-Jenda), a likely return of the monarchy with King Ntare v and other coups that could occur. No one thought that an uprising of Hutus of such magnitude could take place. Otherwise, President Micombero would have taken precautions accordingly. For example, he would not have authorized dance parties and military leave. This seems to contradict the thesis often put forward by certain Hutu extremists who keep saying that it was a montage of Michel Micombero to have an excuse to kill innocent Hutus. But it seems that the president was surprised by something that prompted him to sack the entire government without anyone knowing about it. Here too, the answer lies in this fear of coups
The creators of this genocide of the Tutsis had succeeded in their organization. Indeed, the information collected speaks of certain interior planners like the ministers Pascal Bubiriza, in whom we discovered a hatched map indicating the regions of great Tutsi concentration, and Martin Ndayahoze, as well as Captain Burasekuye.
A party had been created: the Burundian Popular Party (PPB) which had a “youth” branch, the Burundian Popular Party of youth (JPPB).
The Hutu rebellion set up was supported by Zairian elements of the former Mulellist rebellion recruited from the Babembe ethnic group, which occupied the Ruzizi plain and the region of southern Burundi. Like the mulelists, the Hutu rebels took narcotics which made them invulnerable and invincible, they believed. They used hemp absorption and magic immunization rituals. Their backs were covered in tattoos. We know that a well-known Mulelist, Martin Kasongo, took an active part in the Hutu rebellion. These rebels used automatic weapons, explosives, machetes and spears.
On the side of Tanzania, we are talking about a student named Célius Mbasha and a former deputy Ezéchias Biyorero (others say that it was Captain Birorero we talked about in our edition yesterday who fled to Tanzania after failing the coup), both refugees in Tanzania since 1965 who organized the rebellion. The training camps were in the Kagunga Forest.
Leaflets calling for the total extermination of Tutsis had been prepared in the national language. We offer you the French translation:
- Standing all as one man. Arm yourself with spears, pruning hooks, machetes, arrows and a club and kill any Tutsi wherever they are.
- Let all our supporters unite to exterminate the last Tutsi, whether he is a soldier or a leader.
- Attack on ministers, governors, commissioners, administrators, advisers, executives of the Tutsi party only. Massacre them with their wives and children, do not hesitate to disembowel pregnant women.
- Let us compete in courage, discipline, agility to exterminate any man, woman and child of the Tutsi ethnic group and let history no longer speak of it.
- No imprisonment, no trial for Tutsi. All, women, and children in the grave!
We reserve the following for our tomorrow edition where we will talk about the progress of the actions dated April 29, 1972.
URN HITAMWONEZA once again regrets that Burundians, Hutus and Tutsis are killed and that no light is shed to judge and punish the culprits. We also ask that those who take pretexts on these killings of the past to take revenge on the present generations who know nothing about what happened are doubly punished, today or tomorrow. We need truth and justice to convict only the guilty and give peace to the majority of Burundians who have cleaned hands.