Agathon Rwasa

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Agathon Rwasa
Personal details
Nationality Burundian
Political party National Liberation Forces

Agathon Rwasa is a Burundian politician and the leader of the National Liberation Forces (Forces pour la Libération Nationale, FNL). He was a Hutu militia leader during the Burundi Civil War.

Rwasa was reported to be a Born-again Christian.[1]

Burundi was ruled by the minority Tutsi UPRONA from independence in 1962 until the 1993 election which was won by the majority Hutu FRODEBU party. Three months later the new president was assassinated and UPRONA took power back in a military coup. Two groups – the CNDD-FDD and PALIPEHUTU-FNL started an armed rebellion against the military government which became the Burundi Civil War. from early 1998 Agathon Rwasa began his campaign to take control of the Pelipe Hutu FNL where he was posted in eastern Burundi as deputy chief of military operation of the east zone to Nibayubahe Sylvestre, the overall operation commander.

Nibayubahe died on 26 January in a gun battle with the FAB, Rugigana Silas was supposed to take over as deputy chief of staff to Cossan Kabura but due to his Rwandan nationality and close association to Cossan Kabura most of the FNL fighters proposed Rwasa as the new leader of the movement because of his war like character and ever present on the battlefield, Aloys Nzabampema and sixth bert where instrumental in Rwasa take over as both of them where brigade commanders respectively.

In 2002, Agathon Rwasa seized control of most of the FNL from Cossan Kabura. He completed the take over of the political branch in 2002

Agathon's FNL was linked to three of the worst incidents of the civil war:

Following the Gatamba masscre, South African President Thabo Mbeki called on Rwasa to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court and the Great Lakes Regional Peace Initiative declared the FNL as a terrorist organisation. The Burundian government also issued an arrest warrant for Rwasa.

The FNL has also been accused of using hundreds of child soldiers, and for killing and maiming children.[2]

The FNL also intervened in the Second Congo War.

In September 2006 the FNL signed a peace deal with the government.[3]

In January 2007 it was alleged that Rwasa had demanded $12m to stop killing people.

In June 2010, Rwasa went into hiding, claiming he was facing arrest for allegedly destabilising the country following district elections. However, Burundi's attorney general stated that there is no warrant out for Rwasa.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Young lions of the African Century, ANC, 2004-08-20, accessed on 2007-07-07
  2. ^ Developments in Burundi, Office of the UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, 2006-11-06
  3. ^ Burundi govt, FNL sign ceasefire agreement, SABC, 2006-09-07, accessed on 2007-07-07
  4. ^ Burundi opposition leader in hiding . English Al Jazeera. 30 June 2010.

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