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Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Mugongo-Manga: a truth in the face of reality".

publie le Tuesday 1 March 2022
parCommunication and Spokesperson’s Office

Established in December 2014, under the Arusha Peace Accords (2000) with the mission to look into the truth to reconcile Burundians, and this by clarifying the reality of the inter-ethnic conflicts that have plagued Burundi since its independence from Belgium on July 1, 1962, until the signing of a ceasefire with the last rebel group on December 4, 2008, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) continues its work throughout the country.

On February 26, 2022, the Speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate participated in the ceremonies for the temporary closure of the exhumation of human remains by this Commission in Bujumbura Province. These ceremonies began with an ecumenical mass in memory of the victims of the genocide committed against the Bahutu of Burundi in 1972-1973 at Mugongo-Manga.

The senior parliamentarians then took a guided tour of an 87-meter-long trench near ECOFO Gitwe where the Truth and Reconciliation Commission exhumed 1,562 human remains horribly murdered during those tragic events.

The President of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission described such a discovery as "a truth in the face of reality" hidden for 50 years.
In turn, all the different speakers talked about how what happened at that place was not only awful but also inhumane. The survivors revealed that the people who were thrown into this trench were only Hutus who were captured through the villages and put in the cell of Mugongo-Manga commune.

Some of the victims came from the province of Mwaro, while others were fleeing the commercial capital to take refuge in the interior of the country. Everywhere on the streets, there were roadblocks and it was there that they were intercepted by authorities who then forwarded them to the communal office at Rutambiro hill in the Kankima zone.

The newcomers were forced to kill the old ones, and the same cycle was repeated over and over. They were killed with metal objects, used hoes and extra sharp bamboo. Witnesses say that the corpses were then thrown into this 87-meter trench that lies below the former communal office. Surprisingly, the commissioners of this commission mention that this trench was until then unknown to the youth of that locality of Mugongo-Manga and are stunned by this truth. To some people, it is beyond imagination that so many people were killed and thrown in there.

It should be recalled that the communal office was then relocated like so many others wherever such atrocities were taking place. The President of the Senate, Hon. Emmanuel Sinzohagera, elected in this constituency, is pleased with the work done by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in bringing the truth to light, which will lead the country to reconciliation. He called on Burundians to accept the tragic history of the country and to unite to denounce these acts. "It is not an ethnic group that kills but bad leaders."

There was no reason for such despicable acts, said the Speaker of the National Assembly, asking God’s forgiveness for Burundians. He urged the perpetrators of these crimes to ask for forgiveness or they will be brought to justice and to those who have lost their loved ones to give forgiveness. This is the only way to build a new and peaceful Burundi, he said. The Rt. Hon. Gelase Daniel Ndabirabe encouraged the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and reiterated the National Assembly’s unwavering support for the Commission. He also invited the high authorities to do what is necessary so that the report of this commission presented before the Burundian parliament on December 20, 2021 is popularized internationally so that it is recognized and that such a tragedy does not happen again.
To close these activities, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission proceeded to the ritual of lifting the mourning by granting a glass that the public shared in a good atmosphere.

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