Agathon Rwasa

Ce site web publie les atrocités des rebelles FNL du Burundi et mène une campagne pour traduire en justice le dirigeant des FNL, Agathon Rwasa. Nous essayons aussi de mettre à nue la question d'impunité en génerale. This website aims to highlight atrocities by the Burundian FNL rebels, and campaigns to see FNL leader Agathon Rwasa brought to justice. We also aim to highlight the issue of impunity worldwide.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Human Rights Watch report on Gatumba

Human Rights Watch. Burundi: The Gatumba Massacre - War Crimes and Political Agendas

"On August 13, 2004 a force of armed combatants, many of them members of the Forces for National Liberation (Forces pour la Liberation Nationale, FNL), massacred at least 152 Congolese civilians and wounded another 106 at Gatumba refugee camp, near Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. The FNL is a predominantly Hutu rebel movement known for its hostility to Tutsi and the victims were largely Banyamulenge, a group often categorized with Tutsi...

...the FNL accepted responsibility for the attack but asserted that the refugee camp harbored Banyamulenge combatants preparing for a new war on Congo. Less well known in international circles, this version of events also spread widely, through informal channels of communication among FNL supporters and various groups in the Congo. Several civil society groups from apparently from South Kivu produced documents supporting this theory and circulated them by electronic mail...

...The Gatumba massacre was a direct attack on civilians in violation of international humanitarian law (the laws of war) for which all those responsible must be fully prosecuted. The Burundian government has issued arrest warrants for two leaders of the FNL, a promising first step that must be followed by the actual arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators...

...The first ONUB statement about the Gatumba massacre on August 14 denounced the slaughter but ended by calling on perpetrators of the attack to return to cooperating with all parties in the peace process. As public horror over the crime grew, the UN withdrew from this position and announced a suspension of talks with the FNL, apparently recognizing that even the hope of negotiating an eventual settlement to the war could not justify dealing with persons who accepted responsibility for such a crime."

Take action - Fax your MP!
Take action - sign the Gatumba petition

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"The United Nations and the international community will not tolerate war crimes anymore"

Reuters Alertnet - "UN demands investigation into Burundi war crimes"

BUJUMBURA, May 26 (Reuters) - The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Burundi on Thursday demanded an investigation into recent mortar attacks and reports of summary executions which it described as war crimes.

Nureldine Satti, the U.N.'s deputy special representative for Burundi, said it was essential for the central African country's peace process to hold to account those responsible for war crimes.

Satti demanded an investigation into mortar attacks that wounded five in the suburbs of the capital Bujumbura on Tuesday night, and recent reports of summary executions in Bujumbura Rural province, a stronghold of the rebel Hutu Forces for National Liberation (FNL).

"We want to know the truth. The United Nations and the international community will not tolerate war crimes anymore. Any individual, any group responsible for war crimes will be held accountable for its acts," he told a press conference.

He urged the government and the FNL, the only rebel group still fighting the government after a decade of civil war, to cooperate with its investigators to find those responsible.

"The United Nations and the international community will not tolerate war crimes anymore." - We'll believe that when we see it. But is the UN at last admitting that it's been tolerating war crimes in Burundi up until now?

Take action - Fax your MP!
Take action - sign the Gatumba petition

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Child soldiers, arbitrary killings and Gatumba - Amnesty's summary of FNL activities in 2004

Click here for Amnesty's 2004-5 summary of human rights abuse in Burundi

"In Rural Bujumbura, low-level government officials and civilians suspected of collaborating with the CNDD-FDD (Nkurunziza) were killed by the FNL. The FNL also reportedly recruited child soldiers and continued to administer a parallel justice system, with punishments including beatings and killings.

On 13 August, more than 150 Congolese refugees were killed and more than 100 others injured in an attack on Gatumba transit camp in Rural Bujumbura. The refugees had arrived in Burundi in June and were almost all from the Banyamulenge ethnic group. Nearby Burundian returnees were not harmed. The FNL claimed sole responsibility for the attack. Despite investigations by the UN, the government, Burundian and international human rights groups, at the end of 2004 there was still doubt over whether the FNL had in fact acted alone..."

Take action - Fax your MP!
Take action - sign the Gatumba petition

"Ceasefire" rebels shell Bujumbura

Despite ceasefire, Burundi rebels, army clash

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - Burundi's last remaining rebel group injured five people in its second fight with the army since signing a truce meant to help end more than a decade of civil war, the army said on Wednesday.

The Hutu Forces for National Liberation (FNL) attacked two suburbs of the lakeside capital Bujumbura, hurting three soldiers and two civilians and damaging houses, army spokesman Adolphe Manirakiza said.

"FNL rebels shelled yesterday in the middle of the night in Mutanga suburb, but they first attacked army positions," Manirakiza told Reuters...

The attack is the second since FNL leader Agathon Rwasa and Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on May 15.

Take action - Fax your MP!
Take action - sign the Gatumba petition

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pictures from the Gatumba massacre, Friday 13th August 2004

Human Rights Watch report on Gatumba

Take action - Fax your MP!
Take action - sign the Gatumba petition

Statement from mother of murdered aid worker Charlotte Wilson

I am looking with amazement at a photograph of the man who heads the organisation which is widely believed to have killed my daughter, Dr Charlotte Wilson, in the massacre of the Titanic bus in December 2000.

He's taller than I expected and wearing a rather ill-fitting suit. As your readers can imagine this is a curious sensation for me to actually see a likeness of the man responsible for countless killings. He is the recipient of a very chilling and detailed report of the massacre and all the booty taken from the unfortunate passengers nearly all of whom were killed. His followers are known for singing hymns while carrying out their butchery, having been persuaded that it is God's Will to wipe out those of a different ethnic group.

The Palipehutu-FNL, of which he is leader, are believed to be responsible for the Gatumba massacre in August of last year. After that the international community stopped pretending that it was possible to do deals with this group. At a meeting in September at the Foreign and CommonwealthOffice I was assured that an international warrant had been issued for hisarrest and he would be detained if he went to Tanzania or Holland or wherever.

This man is shaking the hand of the Tanzanian President watched by a smiling ambassador to Burundi. He has said he is ready to lay down arms and talk if he and his colleagues are assured of their safety. Charlotte's family would like to know why? Why is he being greeted with apparent warmth? Is he going to be arrested and tried for his numerous war crimes? We do not wish to see his safety compromised. We just want to make sure he can do no more damage.It has been pointed out recently that if Africa is to "make poverty history", it has to be governed better. That means justice must be upheld; and war criminals are not allowed to go free.

Margot Wilson

Take action - Fax your MP!
Take action - sign the Gatumba petition

Statement from mother of murdered aid worker Charlotte Wilson (in French)

On m'a envoye une photo du President Burundais qui serre la main a Agathon Rwasa.

C'est la photo que je croyais que je ne verrais jamais. Pourtant cen'est pas la premiere que j'ai vu. J'en ai vu une ou le President de laTanzanie salue Rwasa. Je m'etonne de regarder la photo du chef del'organisme que plusieurs croient etre responsable de la mort de ma fille,bien aimee, la docteur Charlotte Wilson. C'etait au moment du massacre despassagers du bus Titanic au mois de decembre 2000.

M. Rwasa est plus grand que je l'avais imagine et il porte un complet malcoupe. Comme vos lecteurs peuvent facilement se l'imaginer, pour moi celaest etrange de voir le portrait d'un homme responsable de tant de tueries. J'aurais plutot imaginer le voir ou en chaines ou en sac, les cendres aufront. C'est a lui que l'on a envoye un rapport detaille et ahurissant dumassacre et du butin pris des passagers infortunes. Presque tous lespassagers ont ete tues. Les adherents de cet organisme sont connus pouravoir chante des chants religieux pendant qu'ils commettaient leurs actes deboucherie. On les a persuade de croire que c'etait la volonte de Dieu que detuer des personnes d'une aute ethnie.

Palipehutu-FNL dont Rwasa est le chefest responsable aussi du massacre de Gatumba au mois d'aout 2004. Apres quoila communaute internationale ne voulait plus croire qu'il etait possible detraiter avec lui. Pendant une reunion au bureau d' affaires etrangeres et du Commonwealth ici a Londres on m'a assure que l'on avait dresse un ordreinternational pour arreter M. Rwasa qu'il ne serait pas possible pour lui dese presenter en Hollande ou en Tanzanie ou n'importe ou. Il affirme etrepret a parler si on le protege ainsi que ses collegues. La famille de Charlotte voudrait savoir pourquoi on le salue, pourquoi avectant de chaleur. On ne lui veut pas de mal physique. Nous voulons qu'il nesoit plus libre pour faire le mal. Ici on parle beaucoup de l'Afrique. Ondit qu'il faut qu'elle soit mieux gouvernee. Cela veut dire que la loi doitprimer et que l'on ne libere pas les criminaux de guerre.

Margot Wilson
Londres Mai 2005

Sign the Gatumba petition!

Talk about it...

This is an open forum for anyone with something to say about Agathon Rwasa, the FNL and the wider situation in Burundi. Click "Comment" to have your say.

Sign the Titanic Express petition!

Click here to sign the petition calling for justice over the "Titanic Express" massacre:

Fax Your MP!

If you'd like to support the campaign for the prosecution of Agathon Rwasa, you can contact your MP quickly and easily via

In recent years, Agathon Rwasa has been allowed to travel freely throughout East Africa, and even attended a meeting in the Netherlands.

Please call on the British government:

- to acknowledge that the December 28th 2000 "Titanic Express" massacre, in which British citizen Charlotte Wilson died, was a War Crime.
- to lobby the UN to resume and conclude its investigation into the August 2004 Gatumba massacre.
- to work through the UN, the EU and diplomatic channels to see that Agathon Rwasa is arrested at the earliest opportunity.

Britain is a key member of the G8 and the UN Security Council, and one of the richest countries in the world. The British government can make a difference in Burundi - and the louder the voice of those calling on them to act, the more they will do.

Through the same website, you can also contact your Euro MPs. The European Union is also involved in the Burundian peace process, and it is crucial that they resist pressure to accept any kind of amnesty for Burundi's killers.

Titanic Express massacre, December 28th 2000

On December 28th 2000, 21 people were killed after the FNL ambushed a civilian bus, the ill-named "Titanic Express", close to the Burundian capital Bujumbura. The dead included Charlotte Wilson, a British aid worker, her fiancé Richard Ndereyimana, a Burundian-Canadian, Arthur Kabunda, a pregnant woman, a university professor, several students from the University of Butare, and a number of children. Hutu passengers were allowed to go free. One was told to tell the government "We're going to kill them all and there's nothing you can do".

FNL documents reveal the meticulous detail with which the killers recorded how many people they killed, what they stole from the passengers, even the number of bullets used in the attack.

Take action - Fax your MP!
Take action - sign the Gatumba petition

"Condolences flood in for our Man of Peace"

International Action Network on Small Arms:

"As IANSA members know already, our colleague Pastor Jacques Rutekereza was killed in the massacre, along with six of his children: Mushambaro, 18, Igiraneza, 16, Nyamasoso, 12, Ndatabaye, 9, Nyazahabu, 6, and Nyamuryango, 4. His wife, Sideria Nyangabire, 35, and four of their children were wounded, but survived. A total of 75 children died in the massacre, including a three-month-old baby."

"The killers came in the dark of night..." - extracts from a speech by the South African President Thabo Mbeki, August 20th 2004

"A horrendous massacre took place at a refugee camp in Gatumba, Burundi during the night of Friday, August 13. The refugees were from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They had fled from the conflict that had taken place earlier this year in Eastern Congo. They belonged to the Banyamulenge ethnic group, which is related to the Tutsi population of Rwanda.

The killers came in the dark of night. They attacked a Burundi army camp located nearby, charged with the responsibility to protect the refugees. This was to stop these soldiers intervening as the murderers did their dirty work of murdering in cold blood well over 150 children, women and men as they slept.

The killers came in the night and hacked to death perfectly innocent people who were already suffering because violent conflict in their country had turned them into refugees. They poured petrol on the shacks in which the people lived and set them alight. Many of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition. Those who tried to run away were shot down in cold blood.

With cold and deliberate intent, they did not touch even one of the other refugees who stayed in other shacks a mere few metres away, but belonged to other Congolese ethnic groups.

The only fault of the dead was that they were Banyamulenge. A mindless and criminal hatred drove the killers to carry out an unpardonable crime against humanity. What they hated was the fact that the Banyamulenge were Banyamulenge. The murderers viewed the mere fact that the Banyamulenge exist as human beings as unacceptable.

They therefore took it upon themselves to commit cold-blooded murder, to ensure that the Banyamulenge cease to exist. Led by Adolf Hitler, the Nazis had taken the same decision with regard to the Jewish people, and systematically embarked on the Holocaust intended to annihilate an entire people.

Half-a-century later, other criminals, this time on our continent, carried out a genocide that claimed the lives of a million Rwandans in a mere 100 days. Hitler's African successors argued that the Tutsis of Rwanda, ethnically related to the Banyamulenge of the DRC, were "cockroaches" that did not deserve to live and therefore had to be exterminated.

There is an armed group in Burundi called the Palipehutu-FNL. This group, whose leader passionately presents himself as a born-again Christian, has refused to lay down arms and join the Burundi peace process. As the Barundi have courageously engaged the process to bring peace to their country, preparing for democratic elections, Palipehutu-FNL has taken the conscious decision that it will not join the peace process.

In action, it has made the unequivocal statement that it is determined to continue killing other Barundi, utterly contemptuous of the people's heartfelt desire for peace, and unmoved by the fact that 300,000 people have died in a decade-long conflict. Active in the vicinity of the capital city, in Bujumbura Rural, Palipehutu-FNL has unashamedly carried out operations that make the statement that this organisation, wrongly described as a Front for National Liberation, has nothing to do with the national liberation of the Barundi, and everything to do with the commission of violent crimes against the people of Burundi.

Perhaps it should have not come as a surprise that, by its own admission, Palipehutu-FNL was involved in the Gatumba massacre of Friday, August 13. This armed group has become so accustomed to the shedding of innocent blood that it made bold to make the statement that it was responsible for the Gatumba massacre. It went further to say that it had no fear of retribution for its crimes, because it was certain that it had become untouchable."

Take action - Fax your MP!
Take action - sign the Gatumba petition

Belgian response to Gatumba massacre

With the deepest indignation, Minister for Foreign Affairs Karel De Gucht condemns the massacre perpetrated yesterday in the camp at Gatumba in Burundi, which claimed 160 lives and left over 100 people wounded...

Karel De Gucht said: "Protecting refugees and displaced persons is a fundamental principle - and no cause or ideology can justify attacking such vulnerable, weakened groups. Consequently it is vital that every attempt be made to shed light on who was responsible for this act so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice".

Click here for the full text

Saturday, May 21, 2005

UN Security Council statement on Gatumba

UN Security Council statement on Gatumba, 07/09/2004

"...The members of the Council, reaffirming their condemnation of this murderous attack on defenceless refugees, expressed the expectation to receive a final report on this investigation very soon so that full light is thrown on this terrible event.

The members of the Council reiterated their strong condemnation of these events. The Council members expressed their concern at reports of ongoing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the Great Lakes region and at the widespread culture of impunity. They called on the governments of the region to take all appropriate measures with international assistance to bring the perpetrators to justice and to put and end to impunity..."

Friday, May 20, 2005

Agathon Rwasa

Agathon Rwasa (right) is the leader of the Hutu-extremist Burundian rebel group Palipehutu-FNL (commonly known as FNL). This group has links with the militia who carried out the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and shares a similar ideology. Over the last ten years, the FNL has committed countless massacres against Burundian civilians, for the most part targetting those of the Tutsi ethnic group. During these massacres, torture is commonplace, and many of their victims have been children.

The most notorious FNL attack in recent years was the August 2004 massacre of 159 Congolese Tutsi refugees at Gatumba, in the west of Burundi. The FNL took the unusual step of admitting responsibility for this attack, stating that the international community was powerless to do anything to stop them.

This is a website dedicated to stopping the FNL and holding its leader, Agathon Rwasa, accountable for his many crimes.

Britain is a key player within the UN. If you live in the UK, why not fax your MP and urge them to do more to hold the FNL accountable for its crimes?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Some miscellaneous facts about Burundi

*Burundi is one of the five poorest countries in the world, with a GDP per capita of only $100.

*Elections reputed to be the freest and fairest in modern Africa took place in Burundi in 1993. A few months later, the elected president was assassinated by the Burundian army, plunging the country into vicious civil war.

*In December 2003, FNL rebels ambushed and killed Michael Courtney, the pope's envoy to Burundi. It was the first and only time in history that a Vatican ambassador had been murdered.