November 1966 Burundian coup d'état

Last updated
November 1966 Burundian coup d'état
Burundi-CIA WFB Map.png
A CIA WFB map of Burundi
Date26 November 1966
Location Bujumbura, Kingdom of Burundi
Type Military coup
Motive Regime change
TargetRoyal Palace, Bujumbura
Organised by Michel Micombero
OutcomeCoup succeeds

On 26 November 1966, Michel Micombero, Burundi's 26-year-old Prime Minister, ousted the 19-year-old king (mwami) of Burundi, Ntare V, in a coup d'état. Ntare was out of the country at the time and the coup leaders quickly succeeded in taking control. Micombero declared an end to the monarchy and the Kingdom of Burundi became a republic with Micombero as its first President. [1] [2]



The November coup of 1966 was the last of three coups to take place in Burundi during 1965 and 1966. The previous coups (in October 1965 and July 1966) followed the assassination of the country's Prime Minister, Pierre Ngendandumwe on 15 January 1965, and the country's first parliamentary election in May 1965. The assassinations, attempted coups, contentious elections and ethnic cleansing campaigns combined to make the period immediately following independence a tumultuous one for Burundian society. [3]


In his first move, Micombero announced the dissolution of the royal government and assumed the prerogatives of the head of state. Artemon Simbananiye, who served as Minister of Justice, was appointed Prosecutor General of the Republic. [4] The governors of the provinces were replaced by officers. Before the formation of the new government, the National Revolutionary Committee was established on a temporary basis under the chairmanship of Micombero, which consisted only of officers. [5]

Speaking on the radio, Micombero said:

I ask friendly countries not to interfere in our internal affairs... I want to make it clear that our international obligations will be respected. Our foreign policy remains unchanged. Our bonds of friendship with friendly countries remain intact. Our relations with the neighboring countries of the fraternal republics of Congo-Kinshasa, Tanzania and Rwanda will be improved. Freedom of religion will be guaranteed... I guarantee the safety of all Burundian citizens and all foreigners. [5]


The November 1966 coup was the third Burundian coup in 13 months. Micombero, a Tutsi, ruled the country for the next 10 years, including during the Ikiza, the first of the Burundian genocides, in 1972. Micombero was eventually ousted during a bloodless coup in 1976. [6]

Following the coup, Burundi's relations with Rwanda have improved somewhat, and diplomatic relations between the two states were resumed. [7]

Related Research Articles

The BurundiNational Defence Force is the state military organisation responsible for the defence of Burundi.

History of Burundi Aspect of history

Burundi originated in the 16th century as a small kingdom in the African Great Lakes region. After European contact, it was united with the Kingdom of Rwanda, becoming the colony of Ruanda-Urundi - first colonised by Germany and then by Belgium. The colony gained independence in 1962, and split once again into Rwanda and Burundi. It is one of the few countries in Africa to be a direct territorial continuation of a pre-colonial era African state.

Ntare V of Burundi 20th-century King of Burundi

Ntare V of Burundi was the last king of Burundi from July to November 1966. Until his accession, he was known as Crown Prince Charles Ndizeye. After a Hutu-led coup attempt in October 1965, his father, Mwambutsa IV went into exile in Switzerland. In March 1966 Mwambusta IV designated his only surviving son as heir to the throne. The Crown Prince then formally deposed his father and his father's government in July 1966. He was formally crowned on 3 September, taking the regnal name Ntare V. King Ntare himself was deposed, later the same year, in a military coup led by Michel Micombero; the former king went into exile in West Germany and later Uganda. He tried to return to Burundi in 1972, but was assassinated shortly afterwards.

Michel Micombero First President of Burundi

Michel Micombero was a Burundian politician and army officer who ruled the country as its first president and de facto dictator for the decade between 1966 and 1976.

President of Burundi Head of state of the Republic of Burundi

The president of Burundi, officially the president of the Republic, is the head of state and head of government of the Republic of Burundi. The president is also commander-in-chief of the National Defence Force. The office of the presidency was established when Michel Micombero declared Burundi a republic on 28 November 1966. The first constitution to specify the powers and duties of the president was the constitution of 1974 adopted in 1976. The constitution, written by Micombero, affirmed Micombero's position as the first president of Burundi. The powers of the president currently derive from the 2005 constitution implemented as a result of the 2000 Arusha Accords after the Burundian Civil War. The current president since 18 June 2020 is Évariste Ndayishimiye.

Mwambutsa IV of Burundi 20th-century King of Burundi

Mwambutsa IV Bangiricenge was king (mwami) of Burundi who ruled between 1915 and 1966. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his father Mutaga IV Mbikije. Born while Burundi was under German colonial rule, Mwambutsa's reign mostly coincided with Belgian colonial rule (1916–62). The Belgians retained the monarchs of both Rwanda and Burundi under the policy of indirect rule.

Jean-Baptiste Bagaza President of Burundi (1946-2016)

Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was a Burundian army officer and politician who ruled Burundi as president and de facto military dictator from November 1976 to September 1987.

Union for National Progress Political party in Burundi

The Union for National Progress is a nationalist political party in Burundi. It initially emerged as a nationalist united front in opposition to Belgian colonial rule but subsequently became an integral part of the one-party state established by Michel Micombero after 1966. Dominated by members of the Tutsi ethnic group and increasingly intolerant to their Hutu counterparts, UPRONA remained the dominant force in Burundian politics until the latter stages of the Burundian Civil War in 2003. It is currently a minor opposition party.

Kingdom of Burundi

The Kingdom of Burundi or Kingdom of Urundi was a polity ruled by a traditional monarch in modern-day Republic of Burundi in the Great Lakes region of East Africa. The kingdom, majority ethnic Hutu, was ruled by a Ganwa monarch from the Tutsi ethnic group with the title of mwami. Created in the 17th century, the kingdom was preserved under European colonial rule in the late 19th and early 20th century and was an independent state between 1962 and 1966.

Joseph Bamina was a Burundian politician and member of the Union for National Progress (UPRONA) party. Bamina was Prime Minister from 26 January to 30 September 1965, and President of the Senate of Burundi in 1965. He and other leaders of the government were assassinated on 15 December 1965, by Tutsi soldiers during a reprisal effort to stop a coup by Hutu officers.

Prince Léopold Biha (1919–2003) was a Burundian politician and a Tutsi. He was appointed Prime Minister 13 October 1965 following the 10 May 1965 legislative election. He was the personal secretary of King Mwambutsa IV previous to his appointment as Prime Minister. He was Prime Minister until a coup on 8 July 1966 when Prince Charles Ndizeye overthrew his father and became King. Ntare V installed Michel Micombero to the post of Prime Minister.

Joseph Cimpaye was a Burundian politician and writer. Born into an educated family from the Hutu ethnic group, Cimpaye was considered one of Burundi's leading intellectuals in the late colonial period. He became involved in politics under Belgian colonial rule within the minor Christian Democratic Party which was opposed by the more popular anti-colonial Union for National Progress. In 1961, he briefly held the position of prime minister before UPRONA was decisively returned in the country's first elections ahead of Burundi's independence in July 1962. Although retiring from politics, he was later arrested under the regime of Michel Micombero in 1969. While imprisoned, he wrote L'Homme de ma colline which has been acclaimed as the first Burundian novel but which remained unpublished in his lifetime. He was among a number of influential Hutus killed in the genocidal violence of 1972 instigated by the Micombero regime.

Burundi landlocked country in eastern Eastern Africa

Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. It is bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Lake Tanganyika lies along its southwestern border. The capital cities are Gitega and Bujumbura.

These are some of the articles related to Burundi on the English Wikipedia:

Ethnic groups in Burundi

Ethnic groups in Burundi include the three main indigenous groups of Hutu, Tutsi and Twa that have largely been emphasized in the study of the country's history due to their role in shaping it through conflict and consolidation. Burundi's ethnic make-up is similar to that of neighboring Rwanda. Additionally, recent immigration has also contributed to Burundi's ethnic diversity. Throughout the country's history, the relation between the ethnic groups has varied, largely depending on internal political, economic and social factors and also external factors such as colonialism. The pre-colonial era, despite having divisions between the three groups, saw greater ethnic cohesion and fluidity dependent on socioeconomic factors. During the colonial period under German and then Belgian rule, ethnic groups in Burundi experienced greater stratifications and solidification through biological arguments separating the groups and indirect colonial rule that increased group tensions. The post-independence Burundi has experienced recurring inter-ethnic violence especially in the political arena that has, in turn, spilled over to society at large leading to many casualties throughout the decades. The Arusha Agreement served to end the decades-long ethnic tensions, and the Burundian government has stated commitment to creating ethnic cohesion in the country since, yet recent waves of violence and controversies under the Pierre Nkurunziza leadership have worried some experts of potential resurfacing of ethnic violence. Given the changing nature of ethnicity and ethnic relations in the country, many scholars have approached the topic theoretically to come up with primordial, constructivist and mixed arguments or explanations on ethnicity in Burundi.

1965 Burundian coup détat attempt

On 18–19 October 1965, a group of ethnic Hutu officers from the Burundian military attempted to overthrow Burundi's government in a coup d'état. The rebels were angry about the apparent favouring of ethnic Tutsi minority by Burundi's monarchy after a period of escalating ethnic tension following national independence from Belgium in 1962. Although the Prime Minister was shot and wounded, the coup failed and soon provoked a backlash against Hutu in which thousands of people, including the participants in the coup, were killed. The coup also facilitated a militant Tutsi backlash against the moderate Tutsi monarchy resulting in two further coups which culminated in the abolition of Burundi's historic monarchy in November 1966 and the rise of Michel Micombero as dictator.

1976 Burundian coup détat

The 1976 Burundian coup d'état was a bloodless military coup that took place in Burundi on 1 November 1976. An Army faction, led by Deputy Chief of Staff Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, ousted President Michel Micombero. Bagaza formed the 30-member Supreme Revolutionary Council to take control, suspended the country's constitution and was inaugurated as president on 10 November 1976.

July 1966 Burundian coup détat

On 8 July 1966, a coup d'état took place in the Kingdom of Burundi. The second in Burundi's post-independence history, the coup ousted the government loyal to the king (mwami) of Burundi, Mwambutsa IV, who had gone into exile in October 1965 after the failure of an earlier coup d'état.


The Ikiza or the Ubwicanyi (Killings) was a series of mass killings—often characterised as a genocide—which were committed in Burundi in 1972 by the Tutsi-dominated army and government against the Hutus who lived in the country. Conservative estimates place the death toll of the event between 100,000 and 150,000 killed, while some estimates of the death toll go as high as 300,000.


  1. "BURUNDI PREMIER SETS UP REPUBLIC; Micombero Asserts He Has Overthrown the King". The New York Times. 1966-11-29. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  2. "MICHEL MICOMBERO, 43, DIES; FORMER PRESIDENT OF BURUNDI". The New York Times. 1983-07-18. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  3. Tshimba, David-Ngendo (21 January 2016). "2015 as a repeat of 1965 in Burundi: the stubbornness of political history". Thinking Africa. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  4. Kadende, Rose Marie (1998). Language, Cultural Discourse, and Identity Negotiation: Internet Communication Among Burundians in the Diaspora. Indiana University.
  5. 1 2 (in French) Le Monde (30 novembre 1966): "Le roi Ntare V est déposé par le capitaine Micombero qui devient président de la République".
  6. "Michel Micombero".
  7. Quarterly Economic Review: Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Issues 1-1971. Economist Intelligence Unit, (1966), p. 10.