Burundi marks 56th anniversary of assassination of independence hero

BY Xinhua

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Photo taken on Oct. 13, 2017 shows a view of the mausoleum of Prince Louis Rwagasore in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. Burundian citizens on Friday commemorated the 56th anniversary of the assassination of Burundi's independence hero Prince Louis Rwagasore. (Xinhua/Evrard Ngendakumana)

BUJUMBURA- Burundian citizens on Friday commemorated the 56th anniversary of the assassination of Prince Louis Rwagasore, Burundi’s independence hero killed in 1961.

Ceremonies took place throughout the east African country and were characterized by church services and the laying of flowers on Rwagasore’s memorials.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, other senior officials of the Burundian government, diplomats and members of the royal families attended ceremonies in the country’s capital Bujumbura.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza and his wife Denise Nkurunziza attend the 56th anniversary ceremony of the assassination of Prince Louis Rwagasore in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, on Oct. 13, 2017. Burundian citizens on Friday commemorated the 56th anniversary of the assassination of Burundi’s independence hero Prince Louis Rwagasore. (Xinhua/Evrard Ngendakumana)

After the church service, the east African country’s top leaders went to Vugizo hill in Kiriri residential area where Rwagasore’s tomb has been erected.

There, Nkurunziza, his spouse, representatives of the diplomatic corps, members of the royal family and representatives of political parties laid wreaths of flowers on Rwagasore’s tomb.

People attend the 56th anniversary ceremony of the assassination of Prince Louis Rwagasore in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, on Oct. 13, 2017. Burundian citizens on Friday commemorated the 56th anniversary of the assassination of Burundi’s independence hero Prince Louis Rwagasore. (Xinhua/Evrard Ngendakumana)

Son of King Mwambutsa IV, Prince Louis Rwagasore is believed to be the main pioneer of the east African country’s independence.

He was born in Gitega town on Jan. 10, 1932 and was shot dead on Oct. 13, 1961 a few months to the accession of Burundi’s independence on July 1, 1962.

Rwagasore briefly attended university studies in Belgium, but left his studies to spearhead Burundi’s anti-colonial movement.

For a few weeks, Rwagasore became Burundi’s prime minister under King Mwambutsa IV shortly after the victory of his party — the Union for National Progress (UPRONA) — in legislative elections on Sept. 18, 1961.

The prince founded a series of cooperatives to encourage the country’s economic independence, but were quickly banned by the Belgian colonial rule in 1958.

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