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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
How can Tutsi and Hutu divisions be resolved?
Mourners at the funeral of those massacred at Gatumba camp in Burundi
Refugees in Gatumba camp fled fighting in DR Congo in June
The massacre of over 160 Congolese Banyamulenge Tutsis in Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi has once again brought to the fore the ethnic problem in Africa's Great Lakes Region.

The Burundi Hutu rebel group the National Liberation Forces (FNL) has claimed responsibility for the attack, but some commentators say evidence suggests the group was not acting alone.

Fingers have been pointed at lower ranks of the Congolese army and other groups operating from inside the Democratic Republic of Congo like the Mai Mai militia and the Hutu Interahamwe, blamed for the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The UN is concerned about retaliation attacks, while Burundi and Rwanda have threatened to send troops back into DR Congo if more is not done to protect ethnic Tutsis.

How do you think the long-running problem between the Tutsis and Hutus can be settled once and for all? Are Burundi and Rwanda right to say they will attack the DR Congo if attacks on Tutsis continue? What should the DR Congo government do to avert another war? What role should the UN and African Union play in all this?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

The solution to Hutu-Tutsi conflict in Burundi-Congo-Rwanda is clear except that the so-called "International Community" does not want to hear it: 1) Fight impunity and bring to justice those who have committed genocide and crimes against humanity. This must be done before any "peace processes" in the region. 2) "Democracy" in that region must be must be well redefined so as to protect minorities rights otherwise minorities will always react negatively to a majority rule; for minorities "it is a fight for survival." If DR Congo or any other country for that matter continues to ignore the right to life of the Tutsi minority; there will not be peace in the region. I believe that tomorrow if Burundi or Rwanda enters Congo for the ONLY purpose of dislodging those negative forces, their actions will be justified.
Rukubiranya Kirongo, Burundi/USA

The division among Hutu and Tutsi of Rwanda and Burundi can be solved by giving them equal power sharing in their government policies. The Tutsi who currently hold military power in Burundi inherited it from the colonial power and don't want to share fully with the Hutu. The Tutsi who currently hold power in Rwanda inherited from the colonial power and don't want to share with their brothers with whom they accuse of genocide. The Tutsi who claim to be Congolese are at least 3% of the population but they have more privileges in the current Congolese government compared to other tribes or ethnic groups in Congo - they have a vice-president .The massacre of Gatumba shouldn't be a pretext of invading DR Congo again.
Marsmunel, Hull, UK

It is very sad that the blight of colonialism is still killing the people of the Great Lakes Region. The German and Belgian invaders shrewdly manipulated the Tutsi and Hutu with the age-old, highly effective "divide and rule" strategy. Before the invasion, Tutsi and Hutu lived side by side quite peacefully for centuries. It is too bad that people's memories do not go back that far, and all those alive today know no better. Tutsi and Hutu need to stop allowing colonialism to harm them even now 40 years after independence. It is high time they get themselves out from under that cloud, and work toward a new era of peace, stability, equality, and consequent prosperity for all.
Marianne, Victoria, BC, Canada

The 1994 atrocities continue to haunt Rwandan and Burundian societies. The international community must intervene to neutralise this volatile region. Tutsis and Hutus must work together to end hatred. What remains to be seen is the actions of the DR Congo and their proxy armies laying down their vicious weapons and ending propaganda.
Mubarak Salah, London, United Kingdom

The conflict between Tutsis and Hutus tears my heart apart. The solutions to this conflict lie in the hands of world leaders. They should participate with the United Nations and see to it that the term "genocide" is erased from the dictionary of humanity in the 21st Century. Organisations and governments that support perpetrators of genocide all over the world should be exposed and alienated. If this goal is achieved, then hope is restored. Humanity, lets not fail ourselves, let's join hands and preserve what is rightfully sacred, "Human Life."
Ronald Mugabo, Columbus, Ohio USA

Although I understand why Rwanda and Burundi may send troops into DR Congo, I hardly think this will solve the problem. The question of Hutus and Tutsis must be addressed through serious discussions between the three countries and the African Union. Real commitments must be made by all parties, especially the DR Congo to combat this problem immediately. There is no reason why Africans can't solve their own problems. The UN should only be involved to impose sanctions if discussions are fruitless.
Makda Amare

Separate the Hutu from the Tutsi. Give them each their own country.
Sandy Leeder, Berkeley CA USA

The Tutsis and the Hutus have seen better days. When Belgium ruled the area the two groups lived as one, speaking the same language and intermarrying. After independence, things changed...for the worst. I am not going to be popular for this but the UN probably should be thinking about bringing Belgium back to the table.
Foday Kamara, Sterling, Virginia, USA

The DR Congo government must intervene between the Tutsis and Hutus to end the ancient hatred between the two groups.
Jaward Sesay, Philadelphia, USA

I think Burundi and Rwanda are right to say they will attack the DR Congo if attacks on Tutsis continue and this is mainly because DR Congo is the place where these killers hide. I really don't know what the UN peacekeepers do in the DR Congo. When the Rwandan and the Burundian troops were in DR Congo the region was very peaceful. Can the UN please let our troops take over? The UN and the AU have always failed to play their role in our region since 1994 genocide.
Ebla, Kigali, Rwanda

The problem can be settled only if Tutsis are willing to share the power with other ethnic groups like the white and black people in South Africa. The DR Congo should strengthen its army and this is the only way Rwanda and Burundi will respect DR Congo.
Alexis Wazamani, Toronto, Canada

It is necessary for the governments of Rwanda and Burundi to acknowledge existence of two conflicting ethnic groups and allow for proportional representation of each in all governing and other aspects. Furthermore, intermarriage should be encouraged among these groups.
Bernard Z. M., New York, USA

It's all about the AU and especially UN at this point. Diplomatic channels must be opened, and compromise MUST occur to bring about peace. The governments and military forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi must also take on additional responsibility, so as to enforce the terms of a UN brokered peace treaty.
Raymond Borgone, Old Bridge, New Jersey, USA

Move all Tutsis to Burundi and all Hutus to Rwanda and then build a very high thick wall between them.
Rueben Chinyakata, Harare, Zimbabwe

First, the Congolese government needs to bring to justice to those that helped kill 6.5 million Congolese, even if they are in the transitional government. Once the shield of impunity is destroyed, the killing will decrease. They also must confront Rwanda and Burundi head on in saying that if they want peace, Rwanda and Burundi need to stop supporting the various rebel groups, and hand over those responsible for so much killing in DR Congo that are hiding in Rwanda and Burundi. The UN and the AU need to either put up or shut up. Increase the UN troops; change the mandate to enforce the peace, or DR Congo will take matters into their own hands regardless of what risks are involved.
Said, USA

My mother is from Burundi - her father was half Hutu, half Tutsi and her mother Tutsi. Every time there's genocide I have lost on both of my sides. In 1993 my family lost about 23 members. They'll never have peace in Burundi until we really know what's going on there, and until Hutus and Tutsis and any other ethnic population understand the meaning of this war. No one knows anymore why they fighting. It'll be a sort of Palestinian-Israel never-ending war. And my generation - born in eighties - what do we expect for the future? War, genocide then what's next? Did we ever think! I hate that war, I only find peace in my dreams.
Ricky, 23 years old, North America




SEE ALSO:
Q&A: Burundi massacre
16 Aug 04  |  Africa
In pictures: Burundi massacre
14 Aug 04  |  In Pictures
DR Congo army 'massacred Tutsis'
17 Aug 04  |  Africa
Tutsis massacred in Burundi camp
14 Aug 04  |  Africa


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