Burundi has unearthed over 4,000 mass graves that were dug during one of the country’s bloodiest conflicts since 1962.
The revelations follow investigations by Burundi’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established in 2014. The TRC has overseen exhumations since 2017.
Burundi’s conflicts led to mass killings on as many as five occasions in 1965, 1969, 1972, 1988 and 1993.
The clashes have stemmed from mainly ethnic divisions between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi ethnic groups. Politicians are known to have inflamed passions by tapping into existing tensions.
The chairman of the TRC, Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, who reported on the recent grave findings, noted that there were more graves he believed that are yet to be found.
Ndayicariye was quoted by the BBC saying, “Many more mass graves are yet to be found because people who know about them are afraid to talk or are traumatised.
“Finding out the truth of what happened would lead to forgiveness between the perpetrators and the families of the victims to “forge a peaceful future for Burundi’s generations.”
A mass grave containing 270 bodies has been open to the general public in Bujumbura.
The recent findings are believed to have come from the war that ensued after the assassination of Burundi’s first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye in 1993.
Over 300,000 were killed over 12 years in a clash between the country’s army dominated by Tutsi men and Hut rebel groups.