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Burundi pays final tribute to former president Bagaza

Burundi pays final tribute to former president Bagaza


Burundi payed its final tribute on Monday to former president, Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, who died on May 4 in Brussels at the age of 69.

Bagaza came to power in 1976 following a coup. Ironically, it is also in the same way he was driven out of power in 1987 by president Pierre Buyoya.

Bagaza, an army officer and former deputy chief of staff of Burundi’s armed forces, was 30-years-old when he ousted Michel Micombero, the president on whose watch the Burundian killings occurred in 1976.

Born on August 29, 1946 in Rutovu, a town in what was then Ruanda-Urundi, Bagaza remained active in politics. From 1994 until his death, he led the Party for National Recovery (PARENA).

He belonged to the Hima Tutsi of southern Burundi, a tribe that The Washington Post once described as “a minority within a minority.”

Like Rwanda, its neighbor to the north, Burundi is made up predominantly of members of the Hutu tribe.

The country was long ruled by the Tutsi minority until it gained independence from Belgium in 1962.