2021-09-07

BUJUMBURA - After sixty years, Ludo De Witte opens up about a murder that set Burundi on the road to internal division, ethnic tension and mass killings.

On 13 October 1961, a Greek assassinated Prime Minister Louis Rwagasore of Burundi. The popular leader had just won the elections, to the consternation of Belgium, which governs Burundi. A few hours after the murder, top official Jean-Paul Harroy crossed paths with the Prime Minister's mother in the hospital where Rwagasore lay in state. She gives Harroy a resounding slap on the ear. This slap contains the conviction of many Burundians: the colonial government organised the crime. But Belgium's role was not investigated: the raison d'état imposed a duty of silence. Belgium executed the gunman, Burundi the five accomplices.
Sixty years later, Ludo De Witte opens up about a murder that set Burundi on the road to internal division, ethnic tension and mass murder. Confessions of key players and the opening of crucial archives expose the Belgian role in the murder of the charismatic leader. With the battle shadows of Patrice Lumumba and King Baudouin in the background, with supporting roles for then Belgian prime minister Paul-Henri Spaak and diplomat Etienne Davignon.

Cover: ©Uitgeverij EPO

Team members

Ludo De Witte

Ludo De Witte (1956) is a sociologist and author. He wrote, amongst others, De moord op Lumumba (1999), Wie is bang voor moslims? ('Who is afraid of Muslims?') (2004) and Huurlingen, geheim agenten en diplomaten ('Mercenaries, secret agents and diplomats') (2014). He also cooperated on TV documentaries about the Congolese crisis, for Flemish public broadcaster VRT (1999), German broadcaster ARD (2000) and BBC (2000).

Supported
€ 5.120 allocated on 15/05/2015.
ID
FPD/2015/1201
Tags

BOOK
In Dutch

  • Title: Moord in Burundi (Murder in Burundi)
  • Subtitle: België en de liquidatie van premier Louis Rwagasore (Belgium and the liquidation of prime minister Louis Rwagasore)
  • Editor: EPO
  • EAN: 9789462672918
  • Date of publication:  06/09/2021

In French: 

  • Title: Meurtre au Burundi
  • Subtitle: La Belgique et l'assassinat de Rwagasore 
  • Editor: Investig'action
  • EAN: 978-2930827872
  • ISBN: 2930827874
  • Date of publication: November 2021

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