Bujumbura (Fides Service) – “This is serious and could cause a new outbreak of civil war” a local source in Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, tells Fides Service after the collapse of peace talks between the Burundian government and the Forces for Defence of Democracy FDD, the main rebel group. Talks opened in the 14 September in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania sponsored by the International Community.
“Probably the government found the demands of the FDD excessive” the source tells Fides Service. “The rebels want in fact their own men in the posts of vice-president and chairman of the national assembly. The latter position is a problem because it is a charge decided by a parliamentary election and a government cannot impose a specific person, it must respect the will of the voters”.
“Moreover, the government has already reached agreements with other rebels” the sources continue”. “The FDD, which feels itself the strongest power in Burundi, advanced requests which threatened to underline agreements made with other rebel groups”. “The fall through or suspension of negotiations, could trigger a new outbreak of violence and conflict. Both the government and the FDD rebels want to sit at the table in positions of force, and they will try to obtain an advantage on the ground.”
Insecurity in Burundi is widespread. Besides the various rebels groups FDD, FNL and smaller groups, the country is also afflicted by banditry which does not spare the local Church. According to Fides Service sources at least twenty missions and parishes have been sacked. The latest was a Xaverian mission in Bujumbura, raided last Sunday, 14 September. “A group of armed men broke into the mission and threatened the only missionary present. Fortunately they did nothing violent, but took with them the mission’s equipment.” Fides Sources say. “We cannot say yet if behind these attacks there is a plan to strike the local Church” LM (Fides Service 16/9/2003 EM lines 32 Words: 388)