LIST OF WARS: DETAILS
Rebellion and killings in Burundi
Also called: Ikiza - The Scourge
Battle deaths: 2,000 
Onesided violence: 150,000 Published prior to 2013 | Updated: 2018-07-23 11:03:21
While the neighbouring countries of Rwanda and Burundi have a shared history and a similar demography they embarked on different paths after gaining independence from colonial rule in July 1962. As in Rwanda, the elites in Burundi had traditionally been drawn from the social class of pastoralists, Tutsi, who had higher positions in society and was later favoured by the colonialists, while the less privileged Hutu farmers were in a majority in both countries.
While Rwanda transitioned to independence as a republic, controlled by Hutus, Burundi retained its constitutional monarchy with a government comprised of representatives of mixed origin. The violence and the massacres of Rwanda's Social Revolution of 1959-1961, in which thousands of Tutsis where butchered instilled deep fears and horror among the Tutsis in Burundi. A thwarted attempt to overthrow the government by Hutus in the Gendarmerie in October 1965 led to repression and violence against Hutus in the country, and around one hundred Hutu officers, politicians and other influential persons were executed. The Tutsi king fled to Switzerland which led to the monarchy being abolished in 1966 and Hutus were increasingly excluded from the ruling class of Burundi. This is the background to the events of 1972.
In an article about the Ikiza for the Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, René Lemarchand writes:
On April 29, like a bolt out of the blue, anti-Tutsi violence swept across the lakeside town of Rumonge. In a matter of hours, the rebellion spread to other localities along the shore of Lake Tanganyika, including the southernmost town of Nyanza-Lac, where roving bands of Hutu attacked Tutsi civilians. Countless atrocities were reported by eyewitnesses. In the provincial capital of Bururi, all military and civilian authorities were killed. After taking control of the armories in Rumonge and Nyanza-Lac, the insurgents proceeded to kill every Tutsi in sight, along with a number of Hutu who refused to join the rebellion. A short-lived “Martyazo Republic” was proclaimed in Vyanda, in early May, an experiment quickly brought to an end by government troops sent out to crush the rebellion. Although the uprising lasted only a few days, its cost in human lives, according to missionary sources, is believed to have ranged between 800 and 1200. (Chrétien and Dupaquier, 2007: 106)
The key organizers of the insurgency appear to have been a mix of young radicalised students and a former parliamentarian who recruited and mobilized underprivileged Hutu workers and peasants and unemployed youth. The government acted swiftly to suppress the rebellion and to exterminate all who had taken part in it. The repression would soon reach a nation-wide scale, with purges affecting every sector of the civil society.
Jeunesses Révolutionnaires Rwagasore (JRR), the militant youth wing of the ruling party Parti de l’Union et du Progrès National (Uprona), played a central role in the mass murder together with the army. While acting as an auxiliary force to the army in the beginning of the purge JRR turned into a more independent force as the campaign continued and was responsible for massacres throughout the country.
The killings was clearly an ethnic cleansing of a genocidal nature. Hutus in the army and institutions were executed, students in schools and universities were rounded up and butchered. Not even the churches were spared. The carnage continued for months. Lemarchand have forcefully argued that planned extermination of 200-300 thousands of the Hutu population amounts to a “selective genocide”.
It has never been established how many were killed during the Ikiza. Lemarchand mentions that estimates range from 100,000 to 300,000. The International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi 1996 mentions “over a hundred thousand victims”.
Lemarchand René, The Burundi Killings of 1972, Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, [online], published on: 27 June, 2008, accessed 22/07/2018, https://www.sciencespo.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/en/document/burundi-killings-1972, ISSN 1961-9898
 International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi: Final Report by the United States Institute of Peace, United Nations S/1996/682 received from Ambassador Thomas Ndikumana, Burundi Ambassador to the United States, 7 June 2002, page 20
SOURCES: FATALITY DATA
 Estimates based on Lemarchand René, The Burundi Killings of 1972, Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, [online], published on: 27 June, 2008, accessed 22/07/2018, https://www.sciencespo.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/en/document/burundi-killings-1972, ISSN 1961-9898 and International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi: Final Report by the United States Institute of Peace, United Nations S/1996/682
Low: 100,000 High: 300,000
NOTE ON NATION DATA
NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.
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