Since Sunday April 27th, the capital city of Burundi has been living in a difficult situation. Many areas of the city have seen people on the streets demonstrating against the third term of the current president.
Communes like Kanyosha, Musaga, Nyakabiga, Ngagara, Cibitoke and now Kinindo have joined the demonstrations by burning tires and pieces of wood blocking the streets to prevent people from moving from place to place and to prevent the police from coming to destabilize the demonstrators.
The behavior of the police was criticized by many because they acted against the demonstrators by using real bullets and excessive force, killing 5 people to date, arresting more than 400 people and leaving dozens wounded.
In Kanyosha, some people had to flee their homes out of fear that they will be attacked by the police or the ruling party militia. Some of our church members fled their homes, others decided to send children and women in places believed to be safer.
The church is seeking to arrange a temporarily shelter in a place where it is relatively safer for people to stay. The church will provide food, water, medicines for members in the shelter and those in other places.
The church is appealing for funds to cover these needs and the needs that will come up in the next few days and weeks.
We know we are not alone and thank you very much for your support.
(Note – Please see updates below)
Rev. Ndagijimana Fulgence
Minister of the Unitarian Church of Burundi
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It is expected all donations will be needed for this emergency effort, but any funds not needed for this purpose will be applied to the ICUU Global Fund for Unitarian Universalism for ICUU work in Africa.
BURUNDI UPDATE, POST FAILED COUP – May 15, 2015
Dear friends, after nearly 3 weeks of demonstrations in the streets of bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi, which pushed 50,000 people towards Tanzania, Rwanda and DR Congo , killed 25 people, there was an attempted coup on Wednesday May13th. The coup was defeated and showed a divided army and a police mostly behind the president. The reason people are on the streets is because the president is trying to run for an illegal third term after 10 years in office.
The attempted coup occurred when he was in a meeting in Tanzania. During the fighting between the military loyal to the president and those against him, 5 radio stations were attacked and cannot function now. The pressure to withdraw his candidacy came from all over the place to non avail. Donor countries have freezed the funding for elections, the cost of which was 80% donor funded. They all call for the withdrawal of the candidacy and fair , inclusive and transparent elections. The people had hoped for a conciliatory speech this afternoon but he was even more radical stating that peace prevails everywhere and he will deal with those against peace.
He promised to put a special elections tax since donors are not funding elections. The country may be on the bleak of a civil war once again . Regional and international efforts are being made by The UN, African Union, European union, USA so that peace is saved. The unitarian church has set up a shelter for members who have to leave their homes and forms of assistance as needed and available.
Thanks to a recent emergency grant, the church will extend this support to the larger community as well. The ICCU has set up an emergency appeal and we are grateful to those of you who are supporting our efforts and those who are able and willing to do so.
Neighboring unitarian churches in Rwanda and Uganda have offered our members to go stay with them as needed, and you from afar have offered prayers, thoughts, good wishes and financial support. It is a living testimony that we are not alone! Thank you very much. Rev. Fulgence (more…)