The Beginnings of the Burundi Genocide
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
Oral History Item Type Metadata
Yeah, actually the genocide began in Burundi on October 21, 1993. The night of 20 to 21 of October 1993 sparked a rebellion of few elements of national army, with the aim to overthrow the established institutions. In the event, the president of the republic and some other major locations were staged. So the residence of the president was attacked, and the president and some of his close aides were killed. After that tragedy, civil society and political parties and armed forces condemned the coup and called for an immediate and unconditional restoration of the institutions. Rather than bringing—taking control of the situation and bringing justice back to work in order to find out who were those people who began the rebellion, the then-authorities preferred to hide, and they sought refuge in the French embassy and subsequently in Lake Tanganyika Club Hotel. And some other members of the government, the then-government, went in Rwanda, from where they delivered inflammatory messages, which actually gave—launched the genocide. Shortly after the assassination of the president, all over the country was launched the massacres.
Okay. They were selective massacres, which were—the targets were Tutsis and Hutus who opposed the ideology of genocide or who didn’t want to kill. Those who refused to kill were also killed. All the victims underwent an indescribable fate, like babies pounded in mortars, like women and young girls raped, like—as a matter of fact, eighty high school students of Kibimba were burned alive in a classroom by their own principal. Now, it was with such similarity in the means and methods used in killing, like using machetes, using gasoline in order to burn houses down, and of course using mass graves in order to throw away the bodies. Shame was on the international community, especially medias, who didn’t cover that. But I think that it was due to the coverage of the then-government, which actually preferred to calumny and demonize and incriminate the so-called Tutsi army. And I hope that that was the only reason why the international media didn’t cover the genocide of Burundi, because it took away around 200,000 people in three days, just in three days.