Burundi: 4 arrested over assassination of former president

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Authorities in Burundi have arrested four former military officials accused of involvement in the assassination of the country’s first democratically elected president, Melchior Ndadaye, in 1993.

State prosecutor Sylvestre Nyandwi on Saturday claimed to have substantial evidence that the four conspired to assassinate President Ndadaye although he didn’t reveal the names of the former army officials. Nyandwi added that prosecutors will continue with their investigation and bring the officials to court.

Former army officials arrested over 1993 assassination

President Ndadaye, an ethnic Hutu, was assassinated in 1993 – just three months after coming into office. His death sparked ethnic violence that led to a bitter civil war that lasted longer than a decade and killed more than 300,000 people. The conflict involved ethnic Hutus fighting against members of the Tutsi ethnic group – a rivalry that extends back to before Burundi gained independence from Belgium in 1962.

The civil war ended in 2005 with the swearing-in of incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza, which is currently gearing up to run for a fourth term in charge of the country.

A UN investigation report in 1996 accused the country’s army command of the assassination but it has taken Burundi more than a decade to complete its own investigations.

“We took our time to gather evidence and the case is still pending in the Supreme Court so we are doing this in order to fight against impunity in our country,” told the press on Saturday. “We are going to continue with our investigation and then bring them to court,” he added.

Featured image: By Pumbaa80 – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=343004

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.