UN Mission in Burundi (ONUB)




Burundi gained independence from Belgium in 1962. Since independence Burundi’s Tutsi ethnic elite has been in perpetual struggle with Hutu majority, a struggle characterized by bloodshed. This cycle of violence began in 1963 when Tutsi hardliners tried to topple a government which was seen to appease Hutu sensitivities. These tensions led to widespread massacres by both sides in 1972, 1988, 1991 followed by civil war in 1993. Over 800,000 people were killed in this genocide. The war eventually came to a stalemate in which Burundi Army (FAB) inspite of its battlefield successes, failed to crush its Hutu guerilla opponents. Now as a result of mutual agreement, ceasefire is holding. However, FAB and CNDD-FDD still conduct joint operations against rebel group FNL (Rwasa). These rebels continue to harass the capital from surrounding Bujumbura Rurale, seriously effecting the civil life.



The operational activities of ONUB towards the end of the year accelerated with peacemaking efforts progressing at faster pace. In order to deter/monitor cross border movement of miscreants and improve general security conditions in and around the capital, a number of aerial surveillance and patrolling operations were conducted with Infantry Battalions and the Special Services Force. The support for conduct of National Referendum as announced was another challenging and uphill task for all those associated with it. Optimum and swift Aviation support was extended for airlifting of electoral material, results and visitors from all over the country.
            In December 2003, Africa Union requested the Security Council for the United Nations to takeover the peace process in Burundi. The Security Council decided to deploy 5650 military personnel for United Nation Operation in Burundi (ONUB) from 1 June 2004.

It authorized ONUB to use all necessary means to ensure respect for ceasefire agreements, carryout disarmament and demobilization portions of the national programme for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants; and monitor illegal flow of arms across the national borders. To accomplish the mandate, following additional troops have been deployed:-

  • Two Battalions (Pakistan and Kenya)

  • Six Helicopters (Pakistan and RSA)

  • Engineering Company (Pakistan)

  • Two Level II Hospitals (Pakistan and Jordan)

  • Two Hundred Military Observers

  • One Hundred and Twenty Five Staff Officers

United Nations assistance, so rendered would help to consolidate the gains already made, prepare grounds for successful democratic elections and place Burundi on the road to lasting peace and stability.