• Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

The mass grave where the body of Ntare V was thrown has not yet been found


Apr 13, 2023

BUJUMBURA April 12th  (ABP) – The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) held a press conference on Monday, April 10, 2023, in Bujumbura on “The known facts of the TRC on the assassination of the last King of Burundi Charles Ndizeye, Ntare V.

The TRC chairman, Mr. Pierre Claver Ndayicariye indicated that according to several investigations carried out by the TRC, the witnesses declared that “Ntare V was executed at the Commando camp in Gitega led by Commander Jérôme Sinduhije. He was not present, according to several sources and hearings of the TRC.That execution was led by the second in command, Captain Onesphore Ntabiraho, who finished off Ntare V with three revolver shots in the forehead.

The mortal remains were placed in a wheelbarrow and kept in an armament store at the Camp. According to Ndayicariye, that was just before the outbreak of massive violence throughout the country, which began in this locality.

Regarding his burial, the president of the TRC said that there are different versions. Some witnesses said that the body of Ntare V was thrown into a mass grave in Tankoma (near the Polytechnic University of Gitega) with 6 other people. Other sources told the TRC that Ntare V was buried in the Religious Cemetery of Mushasha (Gitega), he reported.

                                                                                               King Ntare V

The TRC chairman added that the investigations to know where the body of Ntare V was kept are continuing and that until now, his human bones have not yet been found.

As for the responsibilities in this assassination, some presumed perpetrators, including Commander Jérôme Sinduhije whom the TRC met, did not express the will to reveal the truth concerning where the body of Ntare V was kept. Despite that, the TRC of Burundi considers that the rehabilitation of Ntare V as a political figure, symbol of the overthrown monarchy, is a major issue in the process of healing wounded memories.

Note that Charles Ndizeye is the second son of King Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge, whom he had from Queen Baramparaye. Born on December 2, 1947 in the Palace of Gitega, he received a private primary education. He completed his university studies at the Ecole Nouvelle de Paudex in Switzerland. Charles Ndizeye was the half-brother of Prince Louis Rwagasore. He would have reigned in Burundi from July 8 to November 28, 1966, that is to say 4 months and 20 days of reign. Convinced to return to Burundi in March 1966, on July 8, he deposed his father and proclaimed himself the new sovereign, under the name of Ntare V. He appointed Michel Micombero, who was Secretary of State for the army, as Prime Minister. Ntare V’s reign was short-lived. On November 23, 1966, he proclaimed the UPRONA party as the only party and abolished the first constitution of the kingdom of Burundi.

On November 28, 1966, Captain Micombero overthrew the monarchy and proclaimed the Republic of which he became the First President. On March 30, 1972, Ntare V was forcibly brought back from Uganda. He will be directly placed under house arrest in Gitega in the kitchen of the former Palace of his father Mwambutsa IV. On April 29, 1972, around 10 p.m., Ntare V was assassinated at Camp Commando in Gitega, under the eyes of Deputy Commander Captain Ntabiraho. His murder constitutes act one (1) of the tragedy that mourns Burundi and which has been described as “genocide committed against the Bahutu of Burundi in 1972-1973.”