Armed Forces Overviews
Burundi

Armée Nationale du Burundi

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Other Forces
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By Michiel Vermeer & Erwin van Dijkman

This former Kingdom was governed by Germany from 1890 to 1919, when it came under Belgian rule as Ruanda-Urundi, together with what is now Rwanda. Late 1961 the Burundi formed a national assembly and subsequently proclaimed independence on 1 July 1962. Burundi became a constitutional Monarchy. The first president was assassinated and the unstable Hutu-Tutsi government fell victim to a coup d'Etat in 1966 after having had to cope with various Hutu-Tutsi conflicts and atrocities. The Tutsi-led military abolished the Monarchy in 1966 and ruled the country as a 'republic' until 1976, beating down several Hutu-insurgencies. The following years saw several coups and switches in incumbency, attempts at stable and elected governments, but also saw new ethnic atrocities. In 2005 there were some agreements, on paper, to see to a balanced representation of Hutus and Tutsis in government and peace talks were held between the government and Hutu-rebels to seek stability. Again thwarted by bomb-attacks and army retaliations, a cease-fire between the Tutsi-dominated army and the opposing Hutu freedom fighters was finally realised in 2008. The ensuing years saw refugees return and brought peace, but not welfare yet. The burden of decades of fighting and instability and the return of nearly half a million refugees weighs heavy on the small economy.

It is no wonder that the armed forces lack funds, given the troubled history. They have to make do with a handful of small aircraft, predominantly SF260 and Ce152. Also, some helicopters are used, Alouette 3, a quartet of SA342L, a single AS350B followed by a couple of second-hand Mi-24 and Mi-8, the latter being withdrawn already.