Burundi allegedly implicated ethnic cleansing plan targeting Tutsi communities in DRC

By Esther Muhozi
On 22 April 2024 at 11:32

The Government of Burundi, along with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is allegedly involved in orchestrating an ethnic cleansing plan targeting the Tutsi of Congolese descent in the Masisi territory of North Kivu Province, DRC.

Lawrence Kanyuka, the political spokesperson for the M23 rebel group, condemned this plan on April 19, 2024. He accused both the Burundian and DRC governments of long-term collaboration in this sinister agenda.

Kanyuka revealed, "The Burundian government has been supporting a genocide initiative, deploying Imbonerakure militias to southern Masisi to coordinate and perpetrate these atrocious acts.”

Reports indicate that the DRC government recently established a training center in southern Masisi. This facility is purportedly used by Burundian forces and the Imbonerakure to instruct members of the Wazalendo coalition in using traditional weaponry, including machetes.

The Imbonerakure, a youth wing of the CNDD-FDD party ruling in Burundi, has a controversial history of engaging in human rights abuses, often targeting Burundian opposition members. Their actions include alleged murders and forced disappearances, in collusion with pro-CNDD-FDD security forces.

On April 15, 2024, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Burundi (CECAB) also voiced grave concerns over these developments, lamenting the wrongful killings and disappearances plaguing the country, often under politically motivated or vested interests.

Involvement of the terrorist group FDLR, known for its role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, has been noted. The FDLR has strengthened ties with Wazalendo and the Imbonerakure since 2023, following cooperative military efforts between Burundian and DRC forces against M23.

M23’s president, Bertrand Bisimwa, on April 21 disclosed that in late January 2024, the national coordinator of Wazalendo, Lieutenant General Padiri Bulenda, had traveled to Burundi. There, he met with Imbonerakure leaders to finalize the agreements bolstering their involvement in training Wazalendo forces.

According to Bisimwa, the anticipated locations of violence are currently under M23 control in North Kivu Province.

Imbonerakure is a youth group affiliated with the CNDD-FDD party that allegedly carries out acts of terrorism.