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Burundi ex-military officers face prosecution for Melchior Ndadaye assassination

The killing of President Melchior Ndadaye sparked a 10-year civil war that cost more than 300,000 lives.

FILE: Undated photo of former president of Burundian Republic Melchior Ndadaye who was killed in a abortive military coup on 21 October 1993. The coup against the democratically-elected governement threatens to throw the country into a new round of ethnic violence. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - Burundian authorities are playing their cards close to their chests following the arrest of four former military officers for involvement in the 1993 assassination of the country’s first democratically elected president.

State prosecutor Sylvestre Nyandwi says they’ve gathered substantial evidence against the four who will be brought to court as the investigation continues.

The killing of President Melchior Ndadaye sparked a 10-year civil war that cost more than 300,000 lives.

A United Nations report into the assassination was withheld for fear it would spark further ethnic violence.

Finally released in 1996, the report blamed the Tutsi-dominated military for killing Burundi’s first Hutu president.

President Pierre Nkurunziza, who came to power at the end of the civil war has increased tension in the country by extending his term at the helm beyond his constitutional mandate.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)