Burundi marks 23rd assassination anniversary of first Hutu president

Burundian citizens Friday commemorated the 23rd anniversary of the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye, the first Hutu president democratically elected who was killed three months after the start of his rule.

Pierre Nkurunziza
Pierre Nkurunziza

Ceremonies marking the commemoration happened countrywide at the level of towns of districts.

In the east African country’s capital Bujumbura, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, the speaker of the National Assembly Pascal Nyabenda, other senior officials and diplomats accredited to Burundi participated in the event.

In a church service at Regina Mundi Cathedral in the capital Bujumbura, Monsignor Evariste Ngoyagoye called on Burundian people to “avoid hatred” that leads to committing crimes.

The president, his spouse, other top officials and diplomats then left to the Palace of Democracy Martyrs where the late President Ndadaye and his close collaborators were buried after they were killed on Oct. 21, 1993.

“The commemoration of the 23rd assassination anniversary of President Melchior Ndadaye coincides with a crucial step of activities of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of receiving complaints and testimonies. Victims should not be scared to say what they witnessed,” said Jacqueline Karibwami Sindayigaya, AVOD chairperson and widow to Pontien Karibwami, the then speaker of the National Assembly killed along with Ndadaye.

Born on March 28, 1953 and after three months in office as the first-ever Hutu president of Burundi, Ndadaye was killed at the age of 40 by a group of soldiers from the Tutsi-dominated army.

Ndadaye’s assassination triggered violence in several parts of the east African nation with Hutus killing their neighbor Tutsis and the army retaliating against Hutus.

At least 300,000 people from both ethnic groups are said to have been killed in the aftermath of Ndadaye’s assassination, according to the United Nations.

Circumstances on Ndadaye’s assassination have not yet been elucidated, 23 years after his killing. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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