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AFRICA/BURUNDI - Bishops denounce: "Political intolerance threatens peaceful coexistence"

Bujumbura (Agenzia Fides) - "We are worried about the progressive increase of political intolerance which, in different parts of the country, provokes clashes and even victims", says the final statement, sent to Agenzia Fides, of the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference of Burundi, which was held from 4 to 7 June in Gitega.The political tensions that have been stirring the country for years have forced over 374,000 Burundians to take refuge in neighboring Countries: Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and above all Tanzania where Burundian refugees number over 192,000, welcomed in camps often lacking adequate security conditions and humanitarian assistance.A situation denounced by the Bishops who say: "we have learned with pain of the insecurity in some refugee camps in Tanzania".Among the other problems there is "the outbreak of malaria in different parts of Burundi, as well as some social phenomena such as thefts in the fields or in families, armed banditry, numerous cases of witchcraft accusations that sometimes lead to the murder of alleged offenders, as well as the trafficking of girls in certain areas". As far as the life of the Country is concerned, the Bishops long debated about the current socio-political situation in relation to the 2020 elections. They tried in particular to discern what the Church's contribution should be in light of its mission, so that these elections take place in peace and promote the cause of democracy.Finally on the ecclesial level, during the Plenary Assembly the Motu Proprio of Pope Francis "Vos estis lux mundi" was read and the celebration of the Extraordinary Month of the Mission in connection with the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud was discussed, according to the recommendation of the Holy Father. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 12/6/2019)

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