President Nkurunziza has ruled Burundi for 11 years now. Photo Credit: AFP
The Catholic Church in Burundi has called the government to open talks with the opposition as a way for facilitating the return home of thousands of Burundian refugees.
Burundi has been on the brink of chaos since Pierre Pierre Nkurunziza announced a controversial bid for a third term in April 2015 – and subsequently going on to win elections.
A crackdown by security forces on anti-government protesters has threatened to return the country to civil war – and thousands have fled fearing violence.
In a reference to the ongoing tension, the chairman of the country’s Conference of Catholic Bishops, Gervais Banhsimiyubusa, said “For as long as political actors consider those who are not on their side as enemies, dialogue will be impossible; because people wouldn’t sit down with their enemies, they rather run away from them.”
The authorities are playing down the notion that Burundi is still in crisis.
The speaker of the National Assembly, Pascal Nyabenda, told the conference that refugees only need to be convinced that the situation back home has improved.
According to the UN refugee agency, more than 200,000 Burundians have fled their country in the last 19 months.
Source: BBC Afrique