Burundi: When and how would Burundi be equipped with a truly national army and police? (Part Three)
We are continuing our efforts to find a solution to the politicization of CDS which has become a source of the cyclical crises that our country has known. We will never stop repeating it, the army and the police or quite simply the CDS, have always been instruments to gain power and to keep it. This is why politicians have always considered that whoever does not have the army and the police with him have no power. And this, in the days of the monarchy as today with the so-called democratic systems.
We said it in our previous editions, the Belgian colonization which upset the existing administration by excluding the Hutus from these institutions accusing them of incapable while at the beginning they played their roles flawlessly, it was not out of love to the Tutsis, it was just to divide the two in order to lead them easily; but also and above all to oppose them to get into each other. The notion of a numerical majority of the Hutus which was led by a Tutsi minority is in their imagination. From there came the famous social revolution of 1959 in Rwanda.
Based on this experience, the Burundian Hutus have always believed that this was also achievable in Burundi when this country, with a constitutional monarchy, had adopted a policy of national unity, a cohabitation of Hutus and Tutsis in all the country’s institutions. . But the same colonist kept telling the Hutus that in order to succeed in overthrowing the institutions and installing the majority Hutus in power, it was necessary to have an army and a gendarmerie (the CDS) imbued with this ideology. This is how Hutu extremists like Mirerekano over-sensitized the Hutus to enter these bodies. The best officers were trained at the Royal Military Academy (ERM), the rest were trained at the Armed Forces School in Bujumbura.
The recruitment of these best students was done in secondary schools on the basis of a competition among students who completed the lower cycle (10th). It remains to be seen whether this recruitment was made on objective criteria! Those selected were then sent to pursue and complete the humanities at the Royal Cadet School (ERC) in Belgium. They studied in uniform since the school was military. University studies were then done at the Royal Military Academy. They left with a license in social and military sciences after 4 years of training.
The gendarmes were directed to the Royal School of Gendarmerie and graduated with a license in Criminology (case of Ntungumburanye Jérôme and Sindihebura Etienne). Michel Micombero was part of this group, but he would have rushed back after only two years of training. The reason is, according to our informants, the lure of power. It seems that the colonizer was teaching these officers the strategies for overthrowing institutions.
It should be noted that those who were trained in Bujumbura in the Armed Forces School were recruited from students who completed the humanities and received just a year of training.
There was therefore a kind of rivalry between Hutus and Tutsis to achieve dominance within these CDS
From 1963 to 1965, brigades were already established in all the provinces with district police stations having as chief a gendarme who was also in charge of security. (What can currently be called an intelligence chief).
On October 19, 1965, he had an attempted coup d’Etat prepared by Antoine Serukwavu who was Secretary of State at the Gendarmerie, in collaboration with some fifty politicians such as Minister Burarame, then finance minister. The coup was foiled thanks to the bravery of Captain Rusiga (who commanded a commando unit of Gitega), and Michel Micombero who was Secretary of State for Defence. According to our sources, even if there was no of census within these corps, the Hutus would be, at the time, with more than 80% in the army as well as the gendarmerie. And this until the overthrow of the monarchy by Michel Micombero.
After having suffered this setback, the killers already prepared did not fail to massacre Tutsi peasants in Muramvya, Bugarama and Bukeye, but also in Busangana and Kabarore in Kayanza. It should also be noted that 15 Tutsi non-commissioned officers were killed in Bujumbura at the ‘’ Camp Base ’’. Heads have fallen at the level of planners and performers as well, no one doubts it.
King Mwambutsa believed that the people did not want him, and he fled the country through Gatumba, Warubondo and Kiriba Ondes; he took refuge in Switzerland after declaring that he would never set foot in his country again. The council of bashingantahe then met and noticed that the king could not continue to sign royal decrees being outside the country and decided to induct the young Ntare V. Michel Micombero who had saved his father from coup d’Etat by Hutu extremists who wanted to kill him, was appointed by the young king prime minister
Michel Micombero will overthrow the monarchy on November 28, 1966 while the young Ntare V was in the Congo. He too had recourse to the military because he had already begun to approach the military and to set them against the young king without political experience.
The group of Hutu extremists have always taught that it is not a republic that is instituted, but another monarchy in disguise because for them, it was necessary that if there was any change, there had to be a Hutu power / president. On March 7, 1967, seeing that the gendarmerie did not have a decent command, Micombero decided to merge the army and the gendarmerie to be coordinated at the level of the General Staff. The two forces then took the name « Armed Forces ». This did not stop Hutu extremists from trying once again. Coup attempts in 1967 and 1969 by these Hutu extremists failed, endangering many human lives as many Hutus, especially officers, were sentenced to death and executed. Here too, the planners used mixed soldiers and gendarmes.
Seeing that the regime was not easy to overthrow, this time they resorted to regional divisions, a way to hide the ethnic problem and play on the quest for a return to the monarchy. This time, it is not the Hutus, but the Tutsis of Muramvya and Jenda who have been singled out. A strategy found by the same Hutu extremists to weaken the Micombero regime by putting it at odds with the Tutsi. Again, people spoke of an attempted coup in 1971 (commonly known as the Nyungumburanye affair). Micombero, who was ruthless in the face of such adventures wanted to judge and execute them like the first, but encountered the bravery of Leonard Nduwayo, then Attorney General, with the support of Bishop Ntuyahaga. These people were saved in this way. A flagrant injustice in the eyes of the Hutu political class.
In 1972, it was again the attempted genocide. According to their plan, after killing President Michel Micombero at the Officers’ Mess, (he should kick off the dance parties organized across the country by the same Hutu extremists from the armed forces and politicians) a genocide nationwide Tutsis would begin. However, Hutu extremists who seek pretexts to commit crimes against Tutsi that have nothing to do with the 1972 case, say that it is genocide of Hutus by Tutsi. Everyone knows full well that the planners were Hutu. In addition, no Tutsi peasant took a machete or a spear to kill his Hutu neighbour. What was done by Micombero and his military is called indiscriminate repression, which is unfortunate.
URN HITAMWONEZA has indeed demonstrated that the 1972 case was a genocide of the Tutsis which had been carefully prepared by the same Hutu extremists in their quest to come to power after eliminating the Tutsis, but which failed thanks to a mistake by one man. The repression of Micombero power caused many Hutu victims, especially intellectuals, but also, Tutsis died in a settling of scores. This is why extremist Hutu circles speak of the Hutu genocide. Genocide is prepared and executed by a power. Could it be the power of Micombero who planned to exterminate the Tutsis of Rumonge, Nyanza lac, Makamba and Bururi? While it is certain that the planners were among the influential members of his government or army, there is also evidence that they deceived his vigilance by once again raising a false monarchical problem. It was when he found out the truth that he acted with extreme brutality, killing not only the culprits, but the innocent as well. He too used the army to commit this crime. We have always said that any Burundian who dies is a loss for the country. Instead of reviving ethnic hatred, we must instead establish the responsibilities of each other and judge them according to the law so that everyone is accountable for their actions. It is by combating impunity that we will achieve the long-desired real peace.
We have just seen that Hutu extremists have always attempted coups d’état which failed but which resulted in the death of many people. To execute them, the army and the gendarmerie / police have always been used. Until 1972, it is clear that in order to dare to plan these coups d’état, the Hutu extremists had a lot of influence on the soldiers and the gendarmes, more importance at the level of the command From 1967, after the overthrow of the monarchical regime by Michel Micombero (1966), the Tutsis began to feel the threat of extermination by Hutu extremists (after so many attempts) and began to recruit many Tutsis into the defence and security corps. A kind of protection of power and the minority. The Hutus for their part felt excluded at the same time (with the fear of what they had just experienced in 1972) and excluded themselves from these institutions. It was then these soldiers recruited and trained in cascade that will defend the country, but above all defend the power in place. They will also be used for the repayment of the various regimes which have followed one another. We will come back to this in our edition of tomorrow.
Burundi: When and how would Burundi be equipped with a truly national army and police? (Part Three)