Burundi has confirmed, through the voice of the President of the Senate, Reverien Ndikuriyo, its request for forgiveness and financial compensation – in the order of 43 billion dollars (about 36 billion euros) – for the wrongs caused by the settlers Germans and Belgians during the period 1896 to 1962, the Bloomberg business news agency reported on Friday.
Burundi, now led by President Évariste Ndashyimiye, also wants Berlin and Brussels to return archives and objects “stolen” during the same period, Ndikuriyo told senators on Thursday in the country’s new political capital. , Gitega (center).
In 2018, the Burundian Senate appointed a group of experts comprising historians and anthropologists to assess the impact of colonialism for this small country in Central Africa.
Similar requests had already been issued at the end of July by the Burundian parliament during a “retreat” organized in Gitega.
The Burundian authorities claim these compensations by invoking “forced labor, cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments”, such as whipping and imprisonment, inflicted on the population during the colonial period.
A centuries-old kingdom of the Great Lakes region, Burundi was a former German colony from 1890 before being placed under Belgian supervision after the First World War and until its independence from Rwanda in July 1962.
A Burundian historian and researcher at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), Aloys Batungwanayo, said on Friday that many of the challenges facing the country are rooted in a decree taken by King Albert I classifying the population into three ethnic groups.