MORE THAN 6,000 BODIES FOUND IN BURUNDI’S MASS GRAVES, THOUSANDS OF BULLETS RECOVERED

MORE THAN 6,000 BODIES FOUND IN BURUNDI’S MASS GRAVES, THOUSANDS OF BULLETS RECOVERED

Burundi’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has found more than 6,000 bodies in six mass graves in Karusi Province, the largest finding since the government launched a nationwide excavation in January.

The commission chairman Pierre Claver Ndayicariye told journalists on Friday that the remains of 6,032 victims as well as thousands of bullets were recovered. Clothes, glasses and rosaries were used to identify some of the victims.

The tiny East African nation 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 which is believed to have targeted people from the Hutu ethnic group, Ndayicariye said families of the victims were able to “break the silence” that was imposed 48 years ago.

Burundi’s population is divided between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups. The civil war – which killed 300,000 people before it ended in 2005 – had ethnic overtones.

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.

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