Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Agenzia Fides REPORT– "It is a worrying situation that threatens to bring us back to the dark years of civil war," Fides was told by a source from the Church in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. For security reasons, the source wished to remain anonymous. A series of murders in some parts of the country is causing dismay among the population. In recent weeks, mutilated bodies of dozens of people were found along the Rusizi River, in the western part of the country. The area was the stronghold of the National Liberation Forces (FNL), the last guerrilla group to sign a peace agreement with the State in 2005."The government says that these violent acts are perpetrated by bandits, because the murders are accompanied by theft of livestock and destruction of crops, but the population knows from such actions that it must be a group of rebels," says our source.Between May and July, local presidential and legislative elections were held in Burundi. The elections were marked by attacks and the boycott of a dozen opposition parties, who accused the party of President Pierre Nkurunziza of fraudulent elections on May 24. Nkurunziza was elected head of state in the elections of June 28."I fear that the exclusion of various parties from the normal electoral competition has led the most radical opposition groups to resort to violence. After the elections, the bishops had declared that, as far as they could tell, through the Church's election observers, the elections had been regular, but urged the majority to seek dialogue with the opposition which had boycotted the vote," recalls our source.Agathon Rwasa, former head of the FNL, has appealed to the UN Secretary General to intervene to prevent Burundi from sinking back into civil war.Meanwhile, in the east a series of fires are threatening the ecosystem. In Cankuzo and in the Ruvuvu Park, the fire has destroyed entire hills. The fires are caused by severe drought but also by the negligence of man. "They are farmers who, in search of new pastures, burn the forest to make the grass grow back more quickly," says the source of Fides. Farmers have resorted to doing so, in part due to the fact that the army has closed some traditional areas of pasture, for use in military exercises for troops to be sent on peacekeeping missions abroad.

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