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Closing of the exhumation activities of the 1972 massacre victims in Muramvya commune by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission : The First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly graced the ceremonies

publie le lundi 27 septembre 2021
parCommunication and Spokesperson’s Office

In total more than 9 mass graves have been identified in Muramvya commune, with human remains of more than 1000 people exhumed. The Muramvya commune is special : It was at the time the seat of the Royal Court.
In addition to the 1972 massacres, it also records many mass graves from the massacres of 1965 and 1969. The President of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Ambassador Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, announced this on Friday September 24, 2021, during partial closing ceremonies of the work of exhumation of human remains in Muramvya commune, resulting from the crises that bereaved the country after independence. These ceremonies were enhanced by the presence of the First Vice-Speaker of the National Assembly, the Honorable Dr. Sabine Ntakarutimana.

They started with an ecumenical prayer. A priest, a pastor and a sheikh prayed successively for the rest of the souls of the victims, for the reconversion of the executioners and for the country. In his teachings, the parish priest of Muramvya spoke about forgiveness. While mentioning truth, justice and forgiveness as pillars of peace, he invited the relatives of the victims to forgive those who bereaved them, without even waiting for them to ask for forgiveness.

The President of the TRC continued in this same vein. "Forgiveness frees unburdens the mind and brings peace." He called on the perpetrators to free their minds by asking for forgiveness. Ambassador Pierre Claver Ndayicariye also asked Burundian people not to blame the TRC for awakening bad memories. The TRC is rather in the process of bringing the truth to light, this truth which heals and which makes current generations aware of "Never again". The crimes committed must also fall solely on the perpetrators and not on their offspring.

For having carried out this exhumation work which had just lasted three weeks, the President of the TRC praised the support and collaboration of the administration and the population, who contributed to the identification of locations of mass graves by giving testimony. Some mass graves were discovered in banana plantations, others would be buried under public infrastructure, with the idea of the administration of the time to build on these mass graves to falsify the facts. Ambassador Pierre Claver Ndayicariye also praised the support of the Burundian Parliament, as the representative institution of the People, which has always followed closely the activities of the TRC.

The Governor of Muramvya province, while thanking the TRC for the work done in this commune during these three weeks, also called upon this commission to extend its working time in his province because according to testimonies, there would be other sites not yet excavated. The CVR is not a commission in charge of bringing to justice, but it is responsible for bringing to light the truth in order to reconcile the Burundian people, indicated the First Vice-Speaker of the National Assembly, the Honorable Dr. Sabine Ntakarutimana. It must also go far, to the point of proposing compensation mechanisms to the families of the victims.

The National Assembly encourages the TRC and hopes that it will have sufficient resources to carry out its mission. "In the name of the National Assembly of Burundi, all those who were involved in these massacres are called upon to recognize their crimes, to repent and to ask for forgiveness", insisted the First Vice-Speaker of the National Assembly.

To close, the Honorable Sabine Ntakarutimana condemned with all her last energy the recent terrorist attacks with hand bombs which on the peaceful populations of Bujumbura mayorship and Gitega, and called for the safeguarding of peace and security, given that the only current battle is to fight against poverty.

At the end of these ceremonies, the funeral ritual of "Gukaraba" “End final mourning”was observed, because at the time the families of the victims could not mourn their loved ones, bury them or do the mourning.

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