More than 4,000 mass graves have been found in Burundi following an investigation by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into conflicts since independence in 1962.
The commission, set up in December 2018 to shed light on ethnic tensions that have plagued the nation for decades, said it had identified the names of 142,505 people killed since independence.
Infamous massacres took place in 1965, 1969, 1972, 1988 and 1993 when politicians are accused of inflaming tensions, turning the minority Tutsi and majority Hutu communities against each other.
“Many more mass graves are yet to be found because people who know about them are afraid to talk or are traumatised,” commission chair Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye said, when he presented the report to parliament.
Finding out the truth of what happened would lead to forgiveness between the perpetrators and the families of the victims to “forge a peaceful future for Burundi’s generations”, he added.
On Monday, a mass grave, with up 270 bodies, was opened to the public in the main city of Bujumbura.
It is believed to contain the remains of those killed in clashes following the assassination of Melchior Ndadaye, the country’s first elected Hutu president, in 1993.
His killing triggered a brutal civil war between the Tutsi-dominated army and mainly Hutu rebel groups. More than 300,000 people died in the 12-year war.
Some people visiting the grave in Bujumbura were able to identify people they knew from the clothes and IDs found.
“People were crying, there was shock,” commission deputy chair Noah Clément Ninziza told the BBC.