More massacres of Hutus reported in Burundi Thousands of slayings done by army, U.N. alleges

August 02, 1996|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

BUJUMBURA, Burundi -- The world already knows that Hutu rebels stormed a camp of Tutsi families at Bugendana at dawn July 21 and slaughtered 341 people, mostly women and children. The news spread because the Tutsi-led army let reporters and television crews record every grisly detail.

But few also know that the army killed thousands of Hutu civilians between April and July in a horrific series of previously undisclosed massacres.

On June 27, for example, about 500 Hutus in Nyeshenza were rounded up by soldiers, forced to march several hundred yards up a road and then were shot or bayoneted to death outside the mission of the Pentecostal church.

This and other cases of mass murder, political assassination, summary execution, arbitrary arrest and disappearance are documented in an internal United Nations human rights report dated July 18. Although atrocities by Hutu militias also are listed, most victims "were killed by elements of the Burundian army," the report alleges.

Even worse, said a U.N. official here, "this represents only 20 percent to 30 percent of the killing."

The report says the vicious conflict is "characterized by attacks by rebels on the military and reprisals by the army on civilians who are suspected of collaborating with the rebels or supplying them."

Maj. Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi who toppled the civilian government in an army coup July 25, acknowledged in a news conference that some soldiers were guilty of "misconduct." But he also blamed "propaganda against the military" for charges that it is burning villages and killing at will across the country.

Pub Date: 8/02/96

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