Burundi

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Republic of Burundi

Once a part of German East Africa, the land encompassing the Republic of Burundi (République du Burundi) became a Belgian mandate territory following the First World War, part of a suzerainty called Ruanda-Urundi. Belgium administrated the region, but allowed the continuation of traditional kingship dynasties for the next thirty years. In 1959, Burundi's ruler Mwami Mwambutsa IV requested that Ruanda-Urundi be dissolved into two seperate nations, Burundi and Rwanda, influenced to some extent by the instability and ethnic persecution that was happening in Rwanda, in which thousands of ethnic Tutsi had been slaughtered by the more numerous Hutu. In Burundi, meanwhile, many Hutu were killed in retaliation. The nation declared its independence in July 1962, officially changing its name to Burundi and naming Mwami Mwambutsa IV as monarch. Political discontent and ethnic violence continued, however, with sometimes brutal suppression of Hutu attacks, and Tutsi domination of the Army and the Police.

In 1966, the monarchy was abolished by the Prime Minister and the nation declared a republic, although in effect it was a military regime. A militant uprising by the Hutu dominated Umugambwe w'Abakozi b'Uburundi or Burundi Workers' Party (UBU) was brutally suppressed in 1972, with many Hutus fleeing to Rwanda and nearby Tanzania. In a bloodless coup in 1976, Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza took power and promoted various reforms in attempt to quell the ethnic violence. Burundi continued as a one-party state, however, with political opponents being repressed under Bagaza.

Major Pierre Buyoya overthrew Bagaza in 1987, suspending the constitution, dissolving political parties, and reinstating military rule under the Military Committee for National Salvation (CSMN). In the north, anti-Tutsi ethnic propaganda sparked more killings in 1988, with as many as 5,000 dead. Government reprisals were not forthcoming, and Buyoya later appointed a new government with an equal number of Hutu and Tutsi represented.

The first Hutu head of state, Melchior Ndadaye, was elected in 1993, but when he was assassinated by Tutsi soldiers in October of that year, a civil war erupted in which over 300,000 people were killed. In 1996 a military coup d'etat siezed power and installed Pierre Buyoya as president again. Peace talks resulted and after four years of negotiation a transitional government for Burundi was planned as a part of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement.

The Forces de Defense Nationales de Burundi (FDNB) or Armed Forces of Burundi consist only of the Army and the national Gendarmerie.

Camouflage Patterns of Burundi

  • Some units of the post-Colonial Army were issued ex-Belgian jigsaw pattern camouflage uniforms. Later, Asian-produced copies would be issued.

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  • Since around the year 2000, a unique jigsaw design has been issued to the Army of Burundi, based on the original Belgian design but having a different coloration.

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  • The National Gendarmerie also wear a jigsaw design camouflage pattern with a blue colorway.

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  • Personnel serving with the OAU wear a variation of the m81 woodland camouflage pattern, seen here.

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  • The leaf pattern seen here is also worn and is one of the more contemporary designs adopted by the Armed Forces of Burundi.

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