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27 Years Later: Burundi Remembers Tragic Assassination of President Ndadaye

The government of Burundi has remembered the assassination of former President Melchior Ndadaye – the country’s first democratically elected President

Ndadaye, a Hutu, was killed on Oct. 21, 1993, just 102 days after he was sworn in as president.

Despite the adoption of an ethnic unity Charter on Feb. 5, 1991, when the country’s three main ethnic groups — Hutu, Tutsi and Twa — accepted to live in harmony and avoid confrontations, one of the biggest crises broke out with the assassination of Ndadaye, which sparked inter-ethnic violence with at least 300,000 victims.

The unresolved case of Melchior Ndadaye’s killing has always come up mostly on his death anniversary with many Burundian Hutus asking for justice.

This past Wednesday, President Evariste Ndayishimiye led the country as it commemorated the 27th anniversary of the assassination of President Ndadaye.

The presidency said the assassination was “perpetrated by criminals including his predecessor Pierre Buyoya.”

The ceremonies begun with a Requiem Mass celebrated in the presence of the Presidential Couple at St Michel Parish Church.

After the Requiem Mass, the ceremonies continued at the Mausoleum of the Hero of Democracy, with the laying of wreaths and a moment of meditation.

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Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme court in Burundi sentenced former President Pierre Buyoya in absentia and 18 others to life imprisonment for their role in the assassination of Ndadaye.

The 19 were found guilty of carrying out an attacking on the Head of State; an attack against the authority of the State and attempt to bring massacre and devastation to Burundi.

Former Prime Minister Antoine Nduwayo on the other hand was acquitted after court found no evidence that he participated in the crimes.

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