Bishops Concerned Over Growing Tensions in Burundi

Demonstrators Protesting Against Attempted Change to Constitution

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The local Church in Burundi has expressed concerns regarding the growing political tension in the country.

According to Fides News Agency, police have suppressed opposition demonstrations in recent days. On March 17th, a manager of one of the main political parties was injured by a grenade explosion. Protesters are rallying against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s attempt to change the constitution in order to run for a third term in office.

«The current constitution, which incorporates the Arusha Peace Accords of 2000, provides that the Head of State can only serve two terms. The opposition and civil society are demonstrating their opposition to this amendment to the constitution,” and anonymous source told Fides.

The source also said that the Bishops of Burundi have intervened in the matter, calling for no changes to the constitution. The Bishops have also asked that the UN Offices in Burundi remain open “to ensure the implementation of the peace agreements.”

Tensions have also arisen regarding land ownership. Several lands abandoned by people who were forced to flee or traveling abroad found others in possession of their land upon returning. Fides’ anonymous source said that a committee has been established in order to verify ownership of disputed lands.

«The situation therefore is very delicate and there is fear among the population. We are praying for peace to finally prevail in our country», the source said. (J.A.E.)

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