In Burundi, the tragic consequences of the decades of intermittent massacres are under investigation by the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The excavation has found more than 6,000 bodies in six mass graves in Karusi Province, the place of clashes between Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups.
Burundi’s TRC chairman, Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, confirmed on Friday that the remains of 6,032 victims, as well as thousands of bullets, were recovered in Karusi Province. As Reuters reports, clothes, glasses, and rosaries were used to identify some of the victims. It became the largest finding since Burundi has launched a nationwide excavation in January.
The African nation does its best to normalize its social life. The current democratic government is struggling to come to terms with a violent past, characterized by suffered colonial occupation, civil war, and decades of intermittent massacres.
Referring to a massacre that is believed to have targeted people from the Hutu ethnic group, TRC head Ndayicariye said families of the victims were able to “break the silence” that was imposed four years ago.
Burundi continues to map the mass graves
Burundi’s civil war, which killed 300,000 people before it ended in 2005, had ethnic overtones. Two tribes, Hutu and Tutsi, have clashed very violently. As of 2020, a government commission has mapped over 4,000 mass graves across the country and identified more than 142,000 victims of violence.
The government-run commission was set up in 2014 to investigate atrocities from 1885 — when foreigners arrived in Burundi — until 2008, when a stalled peace deal to end the civil war was fully implemented.