Burundi: Anxiety Over More Burundi Mass Graves

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Bujumbura — THE recent documentation of 4 000 mass graves containing 142 505 corpses has reiterated calls for investigations of all human rights violations and abuses in Burundi.

Burundi's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (known locally as CVR) disclosed the findings last week a mass grave in the capital Bujumbura was opened to the public.

The grave contains the remains of 270 people believed to have been killed at the start of the 1993-2005 civil war. Ethnic Hutu armed groups and the Tutsi-dominated army fought the war that claimed over 350 000 lives.

Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, CVR chairperson, highlighted the possibility of more graves.

"Many more mass graves are yet to be found because people who know about them are afraid to talk or are traumatised," he said.

Burundi's mass graves date as far back as the country's independence in 1962.

Ethnic conflict between the majority Hutu population and the Tutsi minority also resulted in mass killings in 1972, 1988 and between 1993 and 2005.

The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect called on the current government of President Pierre Nkurunziza, blamed for the 2005 conflict, to probe.

The organisation urged the United Nations (UN) Security Council to impose sanctions against all those who continue to threaten peace and security in Burundi.

It is feared the ongoing persecution of government critics and use of hate speech to fuel ethnic tensions could mar general elections scheduled for May this year.

The African Union (AU) has also been urged to increase the number of human rights observers deployed to Burundi.

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