AFRICA/BURUNDI - "Only small steps towards reconciliation" Bishops complain

Tuesday, 6 December 2016 bishops   refugees  

Bujumbura (Agenzia Fides) - "We appreciate the steps taken and we thank those who have contributed" say the Bishops of Burundi in their Pastoral Letter published for the closing of the Holy Year of Mercy. "At the opening of the Jubilee Year we had hoped that this Year would be for Burundians an opportunity for reconciliation, so that contenders would sit down, and would tell the truth in a frank dialogue that would allow to solve the Country's problems, so Burundians can live in peace and security", says the message sent to Agenzia Fides.
"There are still so many brothers and sisters who are refugees outside the Country" the Bishops recall. "Although they have heard our appeal, they dare not come back because they do not feel safe. Isn’t there something to be corrected so that they feel safe?" says the message.
The Bishops complain that those who have remained in the country "are wary of each other, they are afraid to speak the truth out loud, there is no longer trust in one’s neighbor, just when it is time to say the truth and accept the truth that saves and reconciles".
The Burundian political crisis dates back to April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced the decision to present himself for a third term, in violation of the Constitution and of the Arusha Peace Accords. The re-election of Nkurunziza, in July of that year, worsened the situation with murders and disappearances of people linked to the opposition and the emergence of anti Nkurunziza guerrilla groups. The violence has so far caused 500 deaths and about 300,000 people have fled to neighboring Countries. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 06/12/2016)