Amnesty International says that video footage from satellite images indicate that the dozens of people killed by police in Burundi last year were buried in mass graves.
As reported by NPR.org, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn, and the Great Lakes, said this about the mass graves, “These images suggest a deliberate effort by the authorities to cover up the extent of the killings by their security forces”
The satellite images of these mass graves can be viewed on an interactive map on the Amnesty website. Local residents say that at least 21 people were killed on December 11.
The organization cross referenced images to decipher that the locations were indeed the mass grave burial sites.
They also have valid reason to believe that Mpanda (another East African city) has mass graves with at least 25 bodies occupying them as well. “It is not known how many bodies might be found at other sites,” according to the world renowned human rights group.
Regarding the mass shooting itself, the organization posted an official statement describing the horrific carnage and the eerie disappearance of dead bodies when events first took place.
“Amnesty International researchers were in Bujumbura when the killings occurred and visited affected neighborhoods, including Nyakabiga, the next morning. Residents described how the bodies of at least 21 men were left in the streets, homes and drainage ditches. Researchers found large pools of blood where some of the victims had been killed but the bodies had been removed.”
“Witnesses described how police and local officials scoured Nyakabiga and other neighborhoods to retrieve the bodies of those who were killed and took them to undisclosed locations.”
“The mother of a 15-year-old boy who was shot in the head as he ran to take refuge in an outhouse in the Musaga neighborhood, told Amnesty International that a pickup truck from the mayor’s office retrieved her son’s body. The men that took him refused to tell her where the body was being taken. ‘I don’t know where he is or if he’s been buried,’ she said.”
The BBC reports that at least 87 people were killed last December during the massacre, which involved military bases being attacked by gunmen. The UN said the true number may be much higher, and these mass graves could confirm their claims.
— Willy Nyamitwe (@willynyamitwe) January 30, 2016
This conflict is stemmed from President Nkurunziza announcing that he will run for a third presidential term, despite the constitution’s two-term limit.
According to the BBC the African Union (AU) leaders plan to discuss the crisis in Burundi at a summit in Ethiopia. The goal is to quell Nkurunziza’s damaging desires to run for a third term in hopes to dispel much of the violence and need for mass graves.
— Hamza Mohamed (@Hamza_Africa) January 30, 2016
It’ll be worth the effort, however, analysts say that the African leader is unlikely to agree to their terms. The UN will also be looking into the issue more extensively.
— UN News Centre (@UN_News_Centre) January 22, 2016
High Commissioner of the UN Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, noted that numerous witnesses have come forward on the issue. These witnesses claim that many dead bodies were hauled away to unknown locations which were far away from the search operation sites.
The commissioner then said that at least nine mass graves in Bujumbura and its surroundings contained more than 100 bodies in total alone. A total far greater than the reported overall death toll of 87.
“My Office is analysing satellite images in an effort to shed more light on these extremely serious allegations. All the alarm signals, including the increasing ethnic dimension of the crisis, are flashing red,” he added.
Mass graves are often the topic of conspiracy theories or ancient artifact discovers, as reported by The Inquisitr. However, the evidence piling up in Burundi is staggering.
Do you think that these locations are really mass graves?
[Photo via NPR.org]