Call for 1972 Burundi massacres to be recognised as genocide

The Roman Catholic church in Burundi has called for the world to recognise the 1972 massacres, which targeted a group of the population who died in “atrocious conditions”, as genocide, said Bishop Simon Ntamwana, who heads the Gitega Catholic Diocese.

Burundi’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission chairperson Pierre Claver Ndayicariye said it had recorded around 4 700 mass graves around the country. He said most held the remains of Hutus citizens killed in different wars in the country.

In Karusi, central Burundi, near the border with Gitega, around 6 032 remains were discovered in six mass graves of the victims of the 1972 mass killings where President Micombero Government targeted intellectuals from Hutu backgrounds and monarchy supporters.

“They were arrested in various work places, homes and even at the church and they were brought in prison. The following day, military vans came to take them to the execution field.

“They were then thrown into mass graves and a Caterpillar was there to close the mass grave,” Ndayicariye said.