Shakeup In Burundi Military

News and Press Release
Originally published
By CHRIS TOMLINSON Associated Press Writer
BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) -- Burundi's military ruler removed three key subordinates Tuesday, including one officer implicated by a U.N. report in the murder of the country's first democratically elected president.

A terse statement from the office of Maj. Pierre Buyoya, who came to power in a bloodless coup July 25, named three lieutenant colonels to fill the top posts of army chief of staff, chief of the national police and head of presidential security.

The departures of Col. Jean Bikomagu, Col. Pascal Simbanduko and Col. Didion Fyiroko are seen as an attempt to appease international opinion, which has been uniformly opposed to Buyoya's coup.

A United Nations special commission investigating the murder of President Melchoir Ndadaye released a report Aug. 16 implicating Bikomagu as one of the key organizers of the abortive 1993 coup. Ndadaye, a Hutu, was tortured and killed by Tutsi paratroopers.

The coup attempt and the murder of other leading Hutu political figures and intellectuals led to a general blood-letting in which at least 100,000 people died, most of them Hutus.

Burundi's Hutu majority make up 85 percent of the population. Tutsis, who dominate the army, make up 14 percent of the population of 6 million.

Tuesday's statement, read on state-run Burundi Radio, named Lt. Col. Vincent Niyungeko as military chief of staff, Lt. Col. Georges Muhorako as chief of national police, and Lt. Col. Alfred Nyunziza as chief of presidential security.

=A9 Copyright 1996 The Associated Press