The 1972 and 1993 Burundi genocides

In April of 1972, a rebellion broke out in Burundi led by Hutu army officers against the purge by the mainly Tutsi government of President Michombero. In response to the rebellion, the government using youth militias went on a killing spree that led to the death of some 200,000 Hutus over a period of 90 days.

Easily named the “ Genocide against Hutus” it was a turning point in the ethnic divisions that later plunged even the neighboring countries such as Rwanda into a cycle similar to what happened in Burundi.

The problem arose from a group of Hutu members of the gendarmerie who took control of the town of Rumonge near Lake Nyanza and declared a republic called Martyazo . This group went on to kill all Tutsi and Hutus who refused to join their cause. Between 800 and 1,000 people were killed.

It was at this point that President Michombero declared martial law and armed his royal Tutsi army who proceeded to regain control of the country but in the process killing hundreds of Hutus.

Again in June 1993, the leading political party FRODEBU with its Hutu candidate Melchoir Ndadaye won the elections and formed the first Hutu government in Burundi. Tensions ensued with gangs of Tutsi and Hutu attacking each other around Bujumbura culminating in the killing of Ndadaye in October of the same year. Radical Hutus and FRODEBU members killed about 25,000 Tutsi in reprisal. In 2002, an inquiry into this violence by the United Nations affirmed that this particular episode in Burundi’s history was indeed a genocide against the Tutsi.