Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, founder and minister of the Unitarian Church in Burundi, has shared the following update on the current situation in Burundi. For further context and background information, read "Making Sense of the Burundi Crisis." You are welcome to share this article widely. Please consider making an online donation to support Burundi Unitarians.
The situation in Burundi remains of concern with widespread violence mostly in Bujumbura but also in rural areas. As a consequence, many deaths are registered and dead bodies are still found on the streets and other people are killed through fighting between armed groups and the police and the Army. A report from Amnesty International stated that mass graves are suspected and many people are buried in those mass graves. The peace and Security Council of the African Union suggested a 5,000 people strong force to protect Burundi civilians and awaited a decision from heads of states. Last weekend, the heads of states and governments didn’t agree to send the troops. There is now a high profile mission to Burundi headed by the current African Union head, the president of Chad, that will visit Burundi as soon as this week. According to news available, the UN general secretary is also expected to visit Burundi in the course of February. All these efforts are aimed at convincing all parties to get to the negotiating table and the government to accept the foreign troops. As far as the Unitarian church is concerned, members are still scattered outside Burundi and shelters have been arranged for people to stay and have basic needs provided. About 17 people are housed in those shelters in addition to some who live in individual rented houses but do get support as needed and appropriate. These shelters are mostly in east African countries. Arrangements are made to support people who remained in Burundi. We are glad to report that the church has remained open throughout these difficult times to the point that no worship service has been cancelled so far and additional measures have been taken to secure the church building and the people who use it. We are praying that the situation gets a peaceful resolution soon and people can go back to their respective homes and jobs as well as thinking about long term solutions. We are grateful to all of you for your support and your constant encouragement.