Burundi’s Attorney General has issued an international arrest warrant for ex-president Pierre Buyoya and 16 former senior officials over their alleged role in the assassination of East Africa’s first democratically President in 1993.
Melchior Ndadaye, Burundi’s first elected Hutu leader was allegedly assassinated by Tutsi hardliners within Buyoya’s army.
The wife of Ndadaye has reportedly been urging President Pierre Nkurunziza to bring those who killed her husband to justice.
Buyoya ruled Burundi 13 years from 1987 to 1993 and from 1996 to 2005 and has denied any role in the killing of Ndadaye.
Jean Bikomagu, Burundi’s former army chief of staff in Buyoya’s regime has been accused of having a hand in the murder of Ndadaye and those close to him.
Bikomagu was also assassinated in 2015, following political unrest triggered by President Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office.
David Kakunzi, a Burundian political analyst said the decision to have Buyoya arrested will be viewed by many Burundians as a witch-hunt. Others in Burundi said the arrests will be a step towards justice.
Attorney General Sylvestre Nyandwi said the findings of the inquiry link Buyoya and others to the crime – its planning, preparation and execution.
Ndadaye’s killing sparked a civil war between the two ethnic groups, in which an estimated 300,000 people died.
The war ended after signing of the Arusha Accord for Peace and Reconciliation in 2000 which was a blueprint for sharing power.