THIS DAY… October 21th, like today…On October 21, 1993, assassination of Burundian President Melchior Ndadaye.

THIS DAY… October 21th, like today…On October 21, 1993, assassination of Burundian President Melchior Ndadaye.This was about 100 days after his inauguration leading Burundi as the first democratically elected President. It’s barely 2 am that day when bullet crackles around the President’s residence, in downtown Bujumbura.

Soldiers run from everywhere, and a light armored positioned towards the presidential palace portal. Putschists (mostly composed of 1st armored battalion supported by commando paras) assault President Ndadaye’s residence.

Shots swaps will last more than 45 minutes. Shells fired by the putschists will eventually destroy part of the palace.

Advised by one of his aides, President Ndadaye reportedly had a military trellis before engulfing with him in an armoured vehicle, a subterfuge that allowed them to pass between the mesh of the putschist net.His aide-de-camp allegedly offered President Ndadaye to drop him off in the Kamenge district (mostly Hutu) where he could have found people to hide him, but Ndadaye would have refused, deciding to continue to trust his presidential guard.

Hence the choice to go to Camp Muha, the then presidential guard seat (Bujumbura). His wife and children will find refuge at the French Embassy.

Around 8 am, hearing that the President would have taken refuge inside Camp Muha, the putschists decided to surround the barracks and demanded that President Ndadaye be given to them, under threat of blowing up the buildings.

*And around 9 am after hard discussions, presidential guard officials reportedly delivered the President to paratroopers.

President Ndadaye will be murdered around 10 pm.

His body will be found a few days later, buried in Ruziba cemetery, south of the capital.

He will be exhumed on October 30, before being transported to Brarudi, Bujumbura.The autopsy of the body, practiced almost a month later, had reported multiple shots carried by sharp and spicy instruments with hemothorax and using a rope placed in the President’s mouth.

At the same time, the hunt is open to the constitutional successors of President Ndadaye, in this case the president and vice-president of the National Assembly, Pontien Karibwami (a Hutu) and Gilles Bimazubute (a Tutsi) who will be abducted and then tortured to death.

The Minister of the Interior (Juvenal Ndayikeza) and Richard Ndikumwami (deputy head of security) suffer the same fate. All of them were murdered almost at the same time, in different places, in the same mode of operation used against President Ndadaye.

The events of October 21, 1993 caused a shock wave in Burundi and plunged Burundi into 10 years of violence.  ·

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