Add comment December 15th, 2010 Headsman
On this date in 1965, 24 Burundians were shot following mass trials in the stormy aftermath of an attempted coup.
Burundi met post-colonial independence deprived by an assassin’s bullet of the popular, unifying figure who might have kept ethnic conflict under control, and many years of living dangerously ensued as Hutu and Tutsi grappled for power.
On October 18, 1965, a group of Hutu officers attempted a coup d’etat against Burundi’s monarchy — and failed.
the events of October 1965 carried momentous consequences. The mutineers took a huge gamble and lost … power became the exclusive monopoly of Tutsi elements.
… In the capital, virtually every Hutu leader was apprehended.
-Rene Lamarchand, Burundi: Ethnic Conflict and Genocide
While the putschists were unsurprisingly executed, the Tutsi-authored backlash cast a much wider net, ultimately claiming up to 5,000 lives. (It was only a dress rehearsal for a similar scenario — Hutu rebellion triggering massive Tutsi crackdown — that resulted in a full-on genocide in 1972.)
Various executions peppered the weeks after the intended coup; this date’s was one of the last of the particularly noteworthy. The New York Times (Dec. 21, 1965) described those “executed in the Central African kingdom Wednesday after mass trials” as “Joseph Bamina,* a former Burundi Premier … [and] 23 others included two prominent political leaders.”
Burundi did not live happily ever after.
* Lamarchand calls Bamina one of the “hard-core Hutu opposition.”
Also on this date
- 1882: James Gilmore, the first hanged in Deadwood
- 1655: Henry Manning, Protectorate spy
- 1983: John Eldon Smith, mafioso Willy Loman
- 1914: Regiment Mixte de Tirailleurs decimated
- 401 B.C.E.: Clearchus of Sparta
Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Burundi,Capital Punishment,Cycle of Violence,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Heads of State,History,Mass Executions,Politicians,Power,Racial and Ethnic Minorities,Shot