In colonial times (first Germany, then Belgium) a Kingdom
ruled by an aristocracy formerly believed to have been the descendants
of invaders from the north, the Tutsi, generally taller and cattle
herders by occupation ruled over a peasantry, the Hutu. The exact
relation of these two peoples is now much disputed. See main article.
Following independence a series of revolts by the Hutus were
put down with great brutality in order to maintain a feudal quasi apartheid society.
The assassination of the first Hutu president, Ndadaye, in
1993 ushered in a general revolt of Hutus, being attacked by
the Tutsi controlled army with large numbers of deaths and refugees.
This has much in common with the even worse massacres going on
in Rwanda, next door. Fears that things may get worse.
During 1996 massacres of Hutu by the Tutsi army continued.
In 2006 there are still reports of massacres.