"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.
violence has so far caused 500 deaths and about 300,000 people have fled
to neighboring Countries.