RE POSTED FROM EXECUTIVE INTELLIGENCE REVIEW issue – 9 August 1996
British games sink Burundi into war
by Linda de Hoyos
On July 24, the military in Burundi took power directly in a coup that sent President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya to seek refuge in the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Burundi Rusty Hughes. Although initial reactions from the White House and the U.S. State Department indicated hopes that the military would uphold the Burundi Constitution and democracy, by July 25, the coup was official. Burundi Defense Minister Firmin Sinzoyiheba, a participant in the coup, declared: ”The Constitution is suspended, the National Assembly is suspended, and the political parties are banned. That’ s the end
of the story.” Pierre Buyoya, a retired major and the military dictator of Burundi from 1 987 until elections imposed on Burundi by the United States in June 1 993 turned him out,
emerged as President of Burundi once again.
The next day, State Department spokesman Nicholas Bums reported that the United States would cut off all financial and economic assistance to Burundi, as per U.S. law.
However, although on July 24, he had stated that the United States would “work to isolate” any regime that did not uphold the Burundi Constitution, on July 26, Bums appeared to renege on this, stating, “I think on a practical basis we will have to work with these people” -meaning, Pierre Buyoya. Bums’ s statement was but a milder echo of the enthusiastic endorsement of the Buyoya coup appearing in the London Times July 26, under the headline: “Tutsi Ruler Rekindles Hope.” The military coup, said the Times, especially in that it brought Buyoya back to power, “is the most promising sign in a bleak picture. . . . In the absence of any rapid decisions with regard to foreign intervention in Burundi, it is the best thing that could have happened under the
The proffered logic behind the London Times ‘s endorsement is the stated hope that Buyoya, will be able to restrain the Burundi military from a full-scale slaughter of the 80%
of the Burundi population who are Hutus. The Burundi military is 99% taken from the Tutsi ruling military caste, and its top leaders, including Buyoya, come from the Hima sub-caste of the Tutsis, based in the southern district of Bururi. Buyoya has won backing from London, and Washington, by presenting himself as the “moderate Tutsi,” who
will keep at bay his Presidential predecessor, Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, and his Tutsi youth militias. As Burundi dictator from 1976 to 1987, Bagaza carried out a merciless campaign
of repression and murder against the Burundi Hutu majority in 1988, and then reduced the Hutus to status of serfs. Hutu children were not permitted to go to school.
This presentation of politics in Burundi, however, constitutes in itself a murderous hoax. Until very recently, the threat of mass murder there was no cause of concern in Washington, London, and Paris. In October 1 993, when the military murdered the first Hutu President, Melchior Ndayaye, elected in June 1 993, and attempted to overthrow his ruling Frodebu Party, a killing spree between the military and Hutus resulted in the deaths of more than 1 00,000 people. This cataclysm received barely a notice in, the Western press. Burundi is in the limelight now, not because of events inside the country, but because of the goals set to be achieved through its destruction. In 1 994, as EIR has documented, a large section of the National Resistance Army (NRA) of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni launched a blitzkrieg invasion of Rwanda, moments after President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, and his Burundian counterpart, President Cyprien Nytamira, were killed, when a missile shot down their plane as it was approaching the Kigali Airport. As EIR has documented, Museveni (himself a Hima), coordinates his
activities in the region principally with Baroness Lynda Chalker, British Minister of Overseas Development, formerly the Colonial Office. Since the seizure of power in Rwanda by Museveni’ s Rwandan Patriotic Front, composed of Ugandan trained Tutsis, Rwanda has become a satellite of Uganda. Uganda, in tum, since Museveni came to power in 1 986, has
become recolonized by British financial and mining interests.
Burundi is now slated for the same treatment. Museveni has evidently been promised by his British masters that he can emerge as the leader of a Hima-Tutsi empire in east central
Africa. Ultimately, the Tutsi military machine will simply enforce British looting of the countries involved-all of which lie along the Great Rift Valley of Africa, one of the world’ s most mineral-rich regions. Museveni works closely with the Burundi military. The three officers and six soldiers directly responsible for the murder of President Melchior
Ndadaye walk freely on the streets of Kampala. Repeated requests for their extradition by the now-deposed President Ntibantunganya, were ignored. For the past year, Ugandan military advisers have been working in the capital, Bujumbura, with the Burundi military, and NRA soldiers are also to be seen.
Chalker’ s warlord Museveni is the source of destabilization in the reigon, as the British and American press have poured out the propaganda cover for months for the overthrow
of the Ntibantunganya government in Burundi, and the return of the Tutsi military, under any guise or pretext. Museveni is also used by London to carry out similar operations against Sudan to the north.
If Museveni ‘ s job is to force through events on the ground, the British have yet another operation coming at Burundi: to use Burundi as the test case for breaking national sovereignty in Africa, and imposing supranational “trusts” over “failed states,” as specified in the United Nations Development Program of 1 994. Burundi has been brought to such “failed state” status by the machinations of the so-called “international community” itself. Burundi President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya succeeded his murdered predecessor in April 1 994, leading the Frodebu Party, which had enjoyed a wide margin of support in the Burundi elections. The party was not Hutu-based, but was also supported by leading Tutsis, who reject the race superiority dogma of the Bururi Tutsi-Hima elite. But, the
Tutsi military, bolstered by Bagaza and his militias, continued to hold real power, as the armed force in the country. The United Nations and the Western diplomatic corps chipped
away at the political power of the Frodebu government. In September 1 994, they imposed a “power-sharing” arrangement on the government, bringing the Tutsi opposition Uprona Party into key posts in the cabinet. In December 1 994, they watched as the military, which had carried out the ethnic cleansing in Bujumbura, held the government hostage, forcing
the naming of an Uprona leader as prime minister. Meanwhile, the Tutsi military murdered with impunity 8 out of 1 6 provincial governors, and murdered or forced to flee the country 1 6 cabinet ministers and 1 0 members of the National Assembly. This decimation of the elected government went largely unnoticed in the Western press.
Many of those who fled for their lives joined the National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD), led by Leonard Nyangoma, Ndadaye’ s interior minister, who had organized the 1 993 election campaign. Any attempt by Hutus to defend themselves against Tutsi attackers won them the label of “extremists” and “insurgents.” The only Western protest against Tutsi military slaughter of civilians came from U.S. Ambassador to Burundi Robert Krueger, who was nearly killed himself when militia attacked his convoy while he was on tour. Krueger has since been posted to Botswana. The word from London, Paris, Brussels, and Washington, was that the Ntibantunganya government must constantly accommodate itself, if it does not want to provoke the Tutsi military into
mass slaughters like those of 1 965, 1 972, and 1988.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called several conferences, involving Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zaire, to reach a “settlement” in Burundi. This spring, he turned over his mediation role to former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, the very man responsible for bringing Museveni to power in Uganda.
Nyerere, the godfather of both Museveni and Sudan’ s British-backed warlord John Garang, put in place a design for a multinational African peacekeeping force to enter Burundi, composed of Africans, as demanded by Henry Kissinger in the case of Somalia. Under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and with the logistical and financial support of the United States, combat troops from Uganda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania would enter Burundi. Nyerere motivated this force as necessary to impose a “permanent solution” -a federation of East African states, under the domination
of Tanzania and Uganda.
Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi denounced the peacekeeping plan, and said Kenya would not provide troops for it. “I know the problems in Burundi from start to end,” he said
July 1 5 , “and I know that Tutsis will fight to the end.” Zairean Foreign Minister Kititwa also said his country would not permit such a military force to enter Zaire territory to reach Burundi. It was Museveni’ s hope that this “peacekeeping force” would mop up Nyangoma’ s Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD), which now control large sections of the countryside in northern Burundi, and have even scored military successes in Bururi in the south. However, pressure from the “international community” forced concessions, by which the “peacekeepers” would be protecting the civilian government, not fighting along with the Tutsi military. Bagaza organized Tutsi demonstrations to protest “foreign troops” entering Burundi. By early July, the Burundi military-which has refused negotiations with Nyangoma or any international presence in Burundi-seriously began preparing for its coup.
Led by the nose
While London writes the script, Washington is the major player on the ground in Burundi. E. Michael Southwick, U.S. ambassador to Uganda, told a recent seminar that the United
States is working closely with Museveni on Burundi: “I would have to say in the case of Burundi, he [Museveni] has been extremely constructive-very helpful, in his advice, and his
willingness to commit resources, and all the rest of it. Basically, this plan [for the Ugandan et al. military force in Burundi] that is being worked on by the donors and [U.S . special
envoy] Howard Wolpe, right now is Museveni’ s plan.” The United States has been cultivating Buyoya with money and prestige. The retired major has been a frequent visitor to Washington since 1 993. On July 29, the State Department said that the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) gave $ 1 45 ,000, over the years 1 994-95, to the Buyoya Foundation. The funds went to Buyoya from AID via the National Democratic Institute, which supported a Buyoya- sponsored conference on “democracy,” and funded his
travel expenses to South Africa. Buyoya was to be a guest at the upcoming Democratic Party Convention. Buyoya worked closely with the Carter Center in Atlanta Georgia, and was a frequent guest at the Burundi Policy Forum in Washington, sponsored jointly by the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, the Search for Common Ground, and International Alert, a London-based spin-off of Amnesty International. Most recently, Buyoya was attending a course on “conflict resolution” at Yale University, and was being put through a crash course in English. Given that Buyoya’ s commitment to democracy is tenuous at best, his major credential for being boosted by the State Department and the London Times might be his commitment to free trade. Buyoya is a member of the African Council of Advisers to the World Bank, and visited the bank four times a year over the last two years. According to the May 1 995 Africa Analysis, in early 1 993, as Burundi President, Buyoya, on the advice of the World Bank, had set up a free trade zone outside of Bujumbura, in which the Belgian metals firm Affimet was the primary beneficiary. In June 1 993, President Melchior Ndadaye canceled the zone; it was restored after Ndadaye’ s murder that October.
Buyoya’ s own role in the Ndadaye murder and the attempted military coup of October 1993 is not fully known.
Suspicions are that exposure of that role is one reason why the United Nations is so far refusing to release the report by a commission of inquiry appointed by UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to investigate the 1 993 events. The report, completed earlier this year, is only now being read by members of the UN Security Council, and even then, no copies are being circulated, but members must read it in private.
With strong ties to Paris and London, and to Uganda’ s Museveni, Buyoya, in his first week in power, has not proved to be cooperative with the United States. He has denied an
American request to permit deposed President Ntibantunganya to either leave Burundi, or to be permitted to rejoin the political process inside the country. Buyoya has already met with Museveni in Kampala, and with Nyerere, although he was prohibited from attending the July 3 1 summit on Burundi organized in Arusha, Tanzania. OAU Chairman Salim Saleh, who appears to have his own direct line to London, has proclaimed that the OAU will not
recognize the Burundi coup. The Arusha summit decided to impose economic sanctions on Burundi, but given that Burundi has always functioned as a smuggling depot for the
region, this may not amount to much. The U.S. policy of accommodation to the British-backed Tutsi military in Burundi-whose atrocities and ethnic cleansing techniques recall the horrors of Serbian actions in Bosnia-has completely failed. On July 25, the CNDD, the
only remaining resistance to the domination of the Tutsi war machine, urged its supporters to maintain calm, and to offer the military no provocations for slaughter. On July 30, the
military reportedly killed 30 Hutu civilians in reprisal for an FDD attack in central Gitega region. It is almost a foregone conclusion that there will be total civil war in Burundi; the
question now is how wide the conflagration will be.