At least 200 Burundians gathered in a parish in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital to pay tribute to their compatriots who were executed a year ago.
On 11 December 2015, armed groups hostile to President Pierre Nkurunziza launched an attack on military barracks in Bujumbura.
Burundian security forces then retaliated by organizing a violent repression.
A former Burundian protester, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, recalls the attack.
“I was in Nyakabiga, I saw everything that happened, they went into the concessions, into the families, they killed everything that moved inside, they raped women whom they found inside,… and it was the state police, the soldiers whose duty was to protect the population.”
The attack came seven months after a failed military coup.
Residents discovered bodies lying on the streets, some handcuffed. Most were young men who had been dragged from their homes by security officials.
Rights groups denounced the attacks and also criticised Burundi’s government for removing most of the bodies littering the streets “before any investigation could be conducted”.
A UN report published in September accused the Burundian government of being responsible for serious violations of human rights. The report also warned against possible “crimes against humanity” and a “danger of genocide”.
Burundi has been plunged into a serious crisis since the controversial election of Pierre Nkurunziza in July 2015.
The violence has killed more than 500 people and forced another 300,000 others to leave the country, including 83,000 in neighboring Rwanda.