President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sent a message congratulating the President of the Republic of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza on that country’s 55th Independence Anniversary.
July 1 is Burundi’s Independence Day. On this day, the Belgian colony of Ruanda-Urundi split to form Rwanda and present-day Burundi. Belgium administered both countries as one colonial empire, known as Ruanda-Urundi.
Tensions between the Hutu and the Tutsi pygmy people in Rwanda made the latter flee to Burundi and find freedom from persecution. Both countries were involved in a civil war. The ruler of Burundi, Mwami Mwambutsa IV, requested separation of Burundi from Rwanda in 1959. In the same year, political parties were formed, that brought the attention of Europe to the situation in Ruanda-Urundi. Belgium granted Burundi independence on July 1, 1962.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, President Sirleaf extended heartfelt congratulations to the Government and people of Burundi on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia and in her own name, stating that she looks forward to further strengthening the cordial bilateral ties subsisting between the two countries.