According to Historyaah, Burundi is a country located in central Africa. It borders Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the south and east and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Like neighboring Rwanda, the country has had many disputes between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. However, Burundi did not get nearly as much attention as Rwanda. These strife resulted in a bloody civil war that lasted from 1993 to 2003.
Burundi’s first residents were pygmies. From the 300s-600s, the Hutus immigrated as the first people to the country, and from the 1300s-1600s the Tutsi people, and a common Hutu and Tutsi language, Rundi, emerged. The Tutsis gained power as they are physically taller and stronger than the Hutus despite the fact that the Tutsis were outnumbered. One made a kingdom with Tutsis as the leaders. This distribution of power has caused problems and civil wars even up to our time.
The Hutus are descended from the Bantu and are farmers who are mainly collectively organized. 500 years ago, they were subjugated by the invading Tutsis – or watutsi – who came from the north in search of fertile land for their cattle. The Tutsis were in possession of modern weapons and managed with violence and force to subjugate the locals, the Hutus who were enslaved. The Tutsi kings were quite powerful in the 7th and 8th centuries, but in the 19th century the internal rivalry between the various clans helped to weaken the central power. This enabled an invasion by German colonizers, who in 1890 conquered Burundi. The Germans supported the Tutsi dominance over the Hutus, thus establishing a system that protected the Mwami, the king.
Burundi was united in 1899 with Rwanda under the name Rwanda-Burundi. The country became famous for its ivory exports, which were monopolized by the colonial power.
1899 – Burundi becomes a German colony. The late colonization is due to the fact that the country is located deep in the continent.
1916 – Belgium takes over the colony as a result of Germany’s defeat in World War I.
1962 – Burundi becomes an independent country.
1966 – The Tutsi king is overthrown, but the Tutsis succeed in holding power and form a republic.
1972 – A violent massacre takes place, and up to 80,000-100,000 Hutus are killed, while many are driven into exile. Tutsi Jean-Baptiste Bagaza took power in 1976, promising to end the oppression of the Hutus. Among other things, he made land reforms, but they did not work very well.
1993 – New beats began in June when the first free election saw the light of day. The Hutu Melchior Ndadaye became president, but the Tutsis still had power over the army. Ndadaye was assassinated 3 months after his incarceration, on October 24, 1993, during a failed military coup. The Prime Minister, Sylvia Kinigi, who had sought refuge in the French embassy, was successful in gaining control of the situation. The leaders of the uprising were arrested or fled to Zaire. Cyprien Ntaryamira, a Hutu of the same political observance as Ndadaye, was appointed president by parliament. Although the coup failed, the assassination of Ndadaye led to one of the worst extermination campaigns in Burundi’s history. Supporters of the former president abused members of the Party for Unity and National Progress, whether Hutus or Tutsis. It resulted in the killing of tens of thousands of civilians and forced about 700,000 to flee. At this time, the so-called “extremist, armed militias” were established, which opposed coexistence with other ethnic groups, such as. the Tutsis from “The Undefeated” or the Hutus from “Intagohekas” (“Those Who Never Sleep”) and the violence began to spread. Angry supporters of Ndadaye began killing members of the Tutsi-led party.
1994 – A new Hutu president, Ntaryamira, is elected, but as he and Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana board a plane on their way home from peace talks in Tanzania, they were shot down in an assassination attempt on their plane in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on 6 June. April. Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, also a Hutu, succeeded the assassinated president. The assassination led to regular civil war. Several attempts to bring peace to the coup failed.
2000 – Most warring parties conclude peace agreements.
2005 – The first real election is held and a Hutu, Pierre Nkurunziza, wins.
1996 – The United Nations and the Organization of African Unity, for fear of spreading the conflict to neighboring countries, decide to assume a peacemaking role. Buyoya, trying to avoid a joint African intervention, initiated a new and this time successful coup in July 1996, making him the country’s new president.
1996 – In mid-September, Hutu rebels announce that 10,000 civilians have been killed by the army after the coup. At least 1,000 people were killed during the ensuing year, although Amnesty International considered it difficult to determine whether the killings were committed by the government or by the rebels.
1998 – It is estimated in February that more than 200,000 people have died in the civil war since 1993.
1999 – Throughout the year, a number of initiatives were taken to resume peace talks. Despite some opposition from a number of political leaders in Burundi, South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela was elected peace mediator on December 1, and Tanzania was named the country where the talks were to take place. But despite the negotiation process, the armed clashes between the parties continued.
2000 – In January, US President Clinton gives his personal support to Nelson Mandela in his mediation mission. A number of political observers noted that it was extremely unusual for a US political leader to get involved in resolving a war in Africa.
2002 – In March, 45,000 Burundian refugees agree with the UN on a plan to return to their country. They had lived in refugee camps in Tanzania, which had been compared to concentration camps due to the harsh living conditions.
2003 – In July, the most serious partisan attack in 10 years took place in Bujumbura. About 300 partisans and 15 soldiers were killed. Iflg. Ignace Ntawembarira, the governor of Bujumbura Rural – the province around the capital – forced 40,000 to leave their homes during a week-long clash between Hutus and Tutsis. He further stated that the majority of the displaced were forced to sleep in the open air and stressed that rapid international assistance was needed. Washington urged the partisans to hold back on the attacks and instead start peace talks with the government. Burundi’s army that had Bujumbura under control informed that many of the Hutu victims were children aged 11-15. The number of people killed during the conflict in the country has now exceeded 300,000.
2004 – In June, 5,000 UN peacekeepers begin operations in Burundi in support of the peace process. About 2,700 UN troops from South Africa, Mozambique and Ethiopia remained in Burundi.
2004 – In August, Hutu rebels kill 160 Tutsi refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who were in the Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi near the Congo border. Men armed with machetes and firearms attacked the camp, destroying the needy huts and burning or killing the people who got in their way. Refugees from DR Congo had fled the violence in their own country. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers strongly condemned the massacre of innocent civilians. The FNL claimed responsibility for the massacre.
2006 – In April, the state of emergency was lifted after being in force for 13 years. The government assessed that the security situation had “greatly improved”. However, there were still infidels and in September a new ceasefire agreement was reached.
2007 – Heavy showers in January led to extensive flooding, destroying 50% of crops of beans, potatoes, corn and rice. The food situation deteriorated severely and the country was put in a state of emergency.