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Newly Found Mass Graves Hold 6,000 Victims in Burundi

Truth and Reconciliation Commission has started a nationwide excavation
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2020 11:15 AM CST

(Newser) – Six mass graves containing more than 6,000 bodies—and thousands of bullets—have been uncovered in Burundi. It's the largest discovery of victims since the nation's Truth and Reconciliation Commission began a nationwide excavation last month, Reuters reports. The commission was launched in 2014 to examine atrocities from the time foreigners arrived in the East African nation in 1885 until 2008, when an agreement ending the nation's civil war took effect. About 300,000 people were killed in the civil war. That history includes sporadic massacres, often targeting ethnic groups. The commission has counted more than 142,000 victims of violence and documented more than 4,000 mass graves. In the latest discovery, some victims were identified by their clothes, eyeglasses or rosaries, the commission president said.

The United Nations is concerned that human rights abuses could increase ahead of the national elections in May. Security forces have killed hundreds of people in confrontations since 2015, when Pierre Nkurunziza ran for president unopposed, per Reuters. Most of his tenure is not covered by the commission's investigation; he took office in 2005. (Read more mass graves stories.)

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