More than 140,000 people killed or missing during the various crises that have plunged Burundi into mourning since its independence in 1962 have already been identified, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) announced on Tuesday, stressing that it was ‘a provisional figure.
“Today, the TRC has already provisionally identified 142,505 people killed or missing in the various tragedies that our country has gone through. These are people whose names and origins we have identified from the province, the commune, the hill or the district ”, announced Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, the president of the CVR, presenting a“ report of ‘stage’ in front of the Parliament gathered in congress in Bujumbura.
« This list comes from revelations collected during voluntary depositions made to the TRC, but there are many other witnesses who have not yet been able to testify, » he said.
« These lists are provisional because we would have to investigate to confirm them definitively, » he added, describing the task still to be accomplished as « immense ».
The CVR has already identified more than 4,000 mass graves of various sizes across the country to date.
Between 250 and 270 bodies have been unearthed in the past three weeks during a highly publicized operation in Kamenge, a working-class neighborhood on the north-eastern outskirts of Bujumbura where the ex-1993 civil war began. rebellion of the CNDD-FDD, now in power.
« We are still only at the beginning (of our mission), because the tragedies that have plunged Burundi into mourning are too numerous, and they have taken away many people and destroyed many properties, » Ndayicariye warned.
When it was created in 2014, the commission had been set up to establish the truth about the interethnic massacres that had afflicted Burundi since its independence in 1962 until December 4, 2008, the supposed date of the end of armed violence in the country.
Burundi has known since its independence a series of interethnic massacres, – which culminated in 1972 -, and coups d’etat, the beginnings of a long civil war (1993-2006) having made more than 300,000 dead.
Ndayicariye is the former chairman of the electoral commission during the controversial elections of 2010 and 2015. The opposition and civil society thus accuse the CVR of being instrumentalized by the government in the run-up to the May 2020 elections.
Burundi has been in crisis since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced in April 2015 his candidacy for a controversial third term. He was re-elected in July of the same year.
The violence and repression that accompanied the crisis would have killed at least 1,200 people and displaced more than 400,000 people between April 2015 and May 2017, according to estimates by the International Criminal Court, which opened an investigation.