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Burundi: The causes of the conflict and its development

erschienen in der Publikation "Friede im 21. Jahrhundert" (ISBN: 3-901328-64-5)

Vollständiger Beitrag als PDF:  PDF ansehen PDF downloaden  16 Seiten (219 KB)
Schlagworte zu diesem Beitrag:  Burundi, Krieg, Bürgerkrieg, Entwicklung, Streitkräfte


Quite often when authors write on the Burundi conflict there is a tendency to cover the ongoing situation from the October 1993 coup d’etat against President Melchior Ndadaye and the FRODEBU. That is, to talk about the overthrown president and the Burundian political party that won the 1993 first democratic elections the country had ever known. But the truth is unhappily a different story altogether.

Burundi has been torn apart since its independence in 1962. Some will label the conflict as being ethnic, while others will state that it is a political conflict, as it is a form of competition to get control of the state, while a third party still will explain that that competition is regional, that it is a fight between the southern province of Bururi and the rest of the country. But the truth is probably to be found at a different level: All definitions of the cleavages within Burundi are without doubt valid, but often put forward by the authors of the fight according to their interests and objectives. That is, that all excuses and devising elements are used according to the issues at stake, and often only give a partial insight to the conflict and its evolution through the last forty years.

The 1 July 1962 "failed” Independence

One must not forget that unlike most African states, Burundi and Rwanda were not an artificial creation of the colonial power. When German East Africa absorbed them in 1899, they had been organised kingdoms for centuries, belatedly forced to open their borders to European intrusion. When, in 1916, Belgium occupied Rwanda-Burundi, it continued the system of "indirect rule" operated by the Germans. This choice of colonial policy had a particular impact, as the ethnic minority of Tutsi had long been dominant. Unlike the situation in Rwanda, however, the potential for conflict between Hutus and Tutsi was contained by the existence of the "ganwa”, an intermediate princely class between the "mwami” (king) and the population. The mwami and ganwa stood apart from the Tutsi masses, who, in turn, comprised two main groups, the "Banyaruguru” and the "Hima”. Relations between the ordinary Tutsi and the Hutus were on an equal footing, and intermarriage was common.

Eigentümer und Herausgeber: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung | Roßauer Lände 1, 1090 Wien
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