Mass grave dating from 1972 discovered in Mwaro province

People, who were preparing the ground to build a new school in Gasenyi locality in Rusaka commune of Mwaro central Province, have discovered a mass grave which contains bones and skulls of people. Some of the residents found in that locality on Wednesday 11 January 2017 say the mass grave dates back to 1972.

A mass grave in Gasenyi locality of Rusaka Commune in Mwaro Central Province.

A mass grave in Gasenyi locality of Rusaka Commune in Mwaro Central Province.

Rose Habonimana, a woman who was born and brought up in Gasenyi locality says the mass grave dates from 1972. “It was in 1972 when I was a young girl studying in 5th form in primary school. The crisis began and we abandoned schools. Many people were killed and buried in this place which remained smelly for about a whole year”, says Habonimana.

Onésime Nzojibwami, another inhabitant of Gasenyi, says the crisis began when Charles Ndizeye, King Ntare V got killed. “I was in 4th form in primary school in 1972 when the crisis broke out. It was the mass killing of Hutu population. People were killed and their riches stolen”, Nzojibwami says.

Athanase Mpawenayo, chief of that area was too young «I was 2 years old, but my father told me what happened in that place. Those people might have been killed during 1972 crisis. My father said he was brought in this place but one of the killers recognized that our grandfather gave him a cow and helped him to escape”, says Mpawenayo.

“I, too, was about to be killed and I fled to Bujumbura the capital. The shop owners were the first to be killed during that period. They killed people and then robbed their shops”, says Gabriel Daridari, another resident of Gasenyi locality. My father, uncle and elder brothers are among people who were killed and buried in this area, he adds.

Salvator Banyoroshe, another inhabitant of that locality, says there may be other mass graves in that place as many people were killed in that place in 1972. “So many people have been killed in this locality including two of my relatives», Banyoroshe says.” There are other three mass graves in Gisozi, another commune of Mwaro province”, says Mpawenayo.

Different inhabitants of Gasenyi locality call on the government to organize the burial of those bones of people who were killed and buried in those mass graves.

Clotilde Niragira, Executive Secretary in Truth and Reconciliation Commission- CVR, says they plan to cover those mass graves and protect them before organizing a decent burial for those people.

Aloys Batungwanayo, Chairman of the Association for the Remembrance and Protection of Humanity against International Crimes-AMEPCI, calls on Burundi Government to identify and punish those who committed those crimes.