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A monarchy ruled Burundi from the 17th century until it was overthrown in 1966. After this overthrow, the First Republic went into effect, a tumultuous time marked by the 1972 genocide of the Hutu community. In 1976, the First Republic government was overthrown, leading to the Second Republic, headed by Jean Paptiste Bagaza. In 1987, Pierre Buyoya overthrew him and created the Third Republic. Despite Buyoya’s efforts to bring peace and unity to the country, violence similar to that of 1972 erupted in 1988 between the Hutu and the Tutsi. Since 1993, Burundi’s ethnic-based conflicts have reportedly claimed over 150,000 casualties. Genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and the Zaire uprising in 1997 intensified the situation in Burundi due to the significant population relocation from both of these neighboring countries. Because of these conflicts, weapons could also be transported readily, and considerable quantities of weapons—including landmines seized from the former Rwandan Armed Forces—became easier to obtain.



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