Bagaza, Jean-Baptiste

Bagaza, Jean-Baptiste

(zhäN-bätēst` bägäzä`), 1946–2016, Burundian army officer and political leader. An ethnic Tutsi, he was educated at Belgian military schools, rose through the ranks of Burundi's armed forces, then led a coup (1976) against president Michel Micombero and became president. A member of the Union for National Progress, he improved the country's infrastructure and was credited with including some Hutus in his government. He also forcefully curtailed the power of the Catholic Church, closing or taking over its schools and media outlets and expelling hundreds of nuns and priests. Bagaza was deposed (1987) while abroad and replaced by Major Pierre Buyoya. After living in Uganda and Libya, he returned to Burundi and led Parena, a hard-line Tutsi party (1994–2014).
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