“Neither Hutus nor Tutsis but Burundians”

By Landry Ninteretse

This was the cry claimed out by forty young pupils of Buta seminar (Bururi southern province) in the night of April 29th 1997 when they were attacked by rebel forces who asked them to separate according to their ethnic group. These martyrs of Buta, as they are called now, courageously refused to divide in two groups before being awfully massacred by rebels.

Twelve years after, all Burundians pay tribute to the heroic attitude of those guys who said no to ethnic division and died instead hand by hand in unity and brotherhood. It is an eloquent sign that despite the ethnic radicalism message that have been taught amongst the youth, a certain number refused to fall in this temptation, demonstrated extraordinary courage, risked their lives showing unity and solidarity in the country’s darkest hours.

At the moment, this good example should inspire all Burundians, especially youth in this pre-electoral period when all kinds of solicitations exist from politicians. Burundi suffered a lot in the last fifteen years and has experienced different human rights violations and atrocities. As we are waiting for the judgment of perpetrators of such crimes, let’s stand firm and resist division and radicalism. Let’s always remember that we are sons and daughters of Burundi despite our ethnic group, religion or social background and it is our responsibility to rebuild this nation and prepare a better future.

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