The Hutu and Tutsi people had lived together in relative harmony since the 1400s, having intermarried for generations.
In 1890 Burundi became part of German East Africa. After the First World War, German colonies were redistributed. Belgium was given the provinces of Burundi and Rwanda.
The Belgians enacted laws that divided the Hutu and Tutsi, favouring Tutsi for local administration. Their rule is one of the cited reasons for the Civil War.
In 1962 when Burundi was granted independence from Belgium, ethnic tensions were high. In the following years, attempted coups, ethnic violence, discrimination, and massacres targeting Hutu left over 120,000 people dead.
In 1993, the assassination of a Hutu president by Tutsi Soldiers triggered Civil War. Lasting 12 years, it led to the death of over 300,000 Burundians. In 2003 peacekeepers were granted entry to Burundi, helping end the war.
Since then, several attempted coups, political conflicts, instances of ethnic violence and suppression of the press have led to a further 1,200 deaths and 431,000 displaced people.
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Reviewed 15 April 2021