The Conflict And Peace Process Of Burundi Essay

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Burundi is a small country that is part of the Great Lakes region bordering Rwanda to the North, Tanzania to the South and East, and the DRC to the West. There are three ethnic groups in Burundi, namely the Tutsi (14%), Hutu (85%), and the Twa (1%). The background of the conflict and peace processes in Burundi is an extremely complicated one, considerably obscured by the lack of consensus on the historical accounts presented by different actors. This review highlights some historical facts about the conflicts in Burundi with a colossal focus on the missions that were initiated to build and sustain peace in the country.

Burundi has experienced decades of conflict since gaining its independence in 1962 from Belgium. The violent conflicts that the country has seen are rooted in political and historical tensions between the two major ethnic groups - the Hutus majority and the Tutsi minority populations. Many have lost their lives following the Burundian crises of 1965, 1972, 1988, and 1991. The last major conflict, which lasted from 1993 to 2005, claimed over 300,000 lives and displaced almost one million people (UNICIB, 1996) following the assignation of the first democratically elected president, Ndadaye Melchoir. This was considered “by far the greatest death toll” (Hatungimana et al, 2007:19).

Several assignations were carried out in the face of this crisis, including that of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Assembly who were killed by the army officers with the…

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