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

Michel MICOMBERO 1966-1976

Burundi: What is the truth about the 1972 killings? (Last part)
In our attempt to find out the truth about the events of 1972, we have shown that rebels from the DR Congo, others trained in Tanzania, invaded the capital, the East and especially the south of the country. They killed any Tutsi they met, even disembowel the pregnant women; they also killed Arabs in Rumonge, accused of hiding Tutsis. The genocide was planned by Hutus, civilians and high-ranking soldiers. Fortunately, it was not executed as planned following an error by Captain Marcien Burasekuye. This life-saving mistake caused operations to begin ahead of schedule, and the radio was not used to kick-start killings across the country. The killers in the provincial canters remained glued to their radios and received no messages; they did nothing because they believed the operation was cancelled or postponed.
When President Micombero realized that this was not a problem with a coup d’état by the monarchists, he ordered a bloody and indiscriminate crackdown. Many Hutus, officials, traders, students and pupils were killed, Tutsis also perished in this human barbarism by simple settling of scores.
Our witnesses tell us that in Ngozi, it was the governor, a soldier from Jenda, who commanded the gathering of the people to be killed. High school students were even killed. They were picking up a lot of people, both Hutu and Tutsi. The Hutus were executed, some Tutsis returned to their homes or to school; others were killed mistaken for Hutus by the shape of the nose or unclear face. This governor would have executed a Tutsi official with whom he had a simple dispute.
In Gitega, district of Nyabiraba (current communes of Gishubi, Ryansoro, Nyarusange), it is the chiefs who established the lists of Hutus to be killed. Our witnesses tell us that it was a Hutu, married to a Tutsi, who made the lists of Hutu officials and merchants to kill.
In Songa, in Bururi province, people were invited to communal development meetings. They gathered on the hills and the Hutus to be executed were assembled separately. A Hutu survivor who refused to participate in these meetings fled, and young Tutsis went looking for him. He hid on Ngabwe Mountain. One of the young people saw him in his hiding place, and he realized that this Hutu regularly bought him beer. They talked for a while before the others came and he was saved for doing well. The young man diverted the attention of his comrades to other places.
In Bujumbura, the Hutus were picked up from schools and neighbourhoods. The soldiers tied them up and went to kill them and throw them in mass graves. There are survivors who were thrown into these pits alive and who were able to get out at night.
Vugizo’s case was atypical. This is where the rebellion had raised a flag; they had set up a parallel government there. As we said in our previous edition, they were not thinking of leaving this place. There was fierce resistance for the military to manage to derogate them. The repression there was therefore very bloody. Many Hutus were gathered there and shot by the soldiers. The corpses were thrown into mass graves. There too, some were buried alive.
Witnesses also tell us that among the soldiers used to kill Hutus, there were Hutus and Tutsis. The Hutu soldiers were also executed after the coup.
In concluding, we have tried to show that the ideology of genocide of Tutsis by Hutus was accentuated by Belgian colonization. Belgium should one day assume its responsibility. Their policy of « Dividing to Rule » awakened Hutu demons. We have seen that the Belgians first dismantled the administration in place in Rwanda-Urundi; with the pretext that the Hutus could not lead. With the 1959 revolution in Rwanda which consisted in refusing that the Tutsi numerical minority rule the Hutu numerical majority, the Hutu extremists not only sought that the Hutus dominate the institutions of the country, but they always kept in mind that the Tutsis must be exterminated. They first used all means to mistreat them, deprive them of full citizenship rights, until the large-scale genocide in Rwanda in 1994. The extremist Hutus of Burundi have always wanted to copy the Rwandan model and have come up against the various so-called Tutsi powers who wanted the division between Hutu-Tutsi in the management of the country (from the monarchy to the so-called military power of Buyoya who advocated the national unity). When Frodebu came to power, the idea of genocide came back with the leaders of this party who had just returned from Rwanda. This is how they planned and carried out the genocide against the Tutsi in 1993 following the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye. Most of these extremists who committed this genocide then fled to Rwanda; some of them even participated in the genocide of the Tutsis of Rwanda in 1994 alongside the Interahamwe. They returned to Burundi after the coup and never worried. These are the same faces, along with other Hutus, who started the rebellion in Burundi with the motive of restoring democracy. They only killed the survivors of this genocide in 1993. These are the same Hutu extremists who returned from this rebellion through negotiations which are currently, with the means of the State, seeking to complete the genocide of the Tutsis. They also kill, and without mercy, any Hutu who oppose their mismanagement of the state; a country they manage as their own company.
URN HITAMWONEZA ( Union for the Rebirth of the Nation ) regrets that the killers and the victims have not all been identified and that no investigation has so far been made by any power. We also regret that the practices of tying up people, killing them and throwing them into rivers or mass graves used by the power of Micombero in 1972 are the same ones used by the power cnddfdd until today. We remind them that communication techniques have evolved a lot. We are no longer in the years 1972 when the means of communication were almost non-existent. Today the world has become like a small village. Everything you do today is documented and recorded. Sooner or later, you will answer for your actions. We will also continue to demand that investigations be made into all the killings carried out in Burundi so that one day justice can do its job and that everyone, Hutu and Tutsi alike, answer for their actions. This is the only way that reconciliation is possible.


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