BURUNDI: Involve Everyone in Peace Building, Bishops urge Govt

BUJUMBURA, JUNE 21, 2016 (CISA) – Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has appealed to the government and Church leaders of Burundi to involve everyone in peace building for the unity of the nation. “Ensure inclusive participation of citizens in the peace process and address all grievances peacefully in a way that maintains stability.”

The delegation expressed, adding that “We encourage that in peace process, all Christians bear the responsibility to move that first steps. Only a true commitment involving all the church can make this path growing,” said the bishops after a meeting convened in Bujumbura June 9-12.

The umbrella body of the bishops’ conferences of Africa shared their opinion after a recent solidarity visit to Burundi following the ongoing conflicts in the region, reported Vatican Radio.

As the Bishops said, “conflict resolutions and peace-building can bear good fruits if people from all walks of life and creed and civil society participate fully in the process.”

The Bishops, who were also against the external influences, warned the leaders and the entire nation to keep off from borrowing negative ideas and practices from those who are promoting war and conflict.

“We also take this moment to condemn those negative external influences that have not only been interfering with Burundi but also with other countries in the region and in Africa”

“We say NO to the ongoing arms trade that is being utilized to cause violence in African countries.  We seek the intervention of the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations; in putting more pressure and measures to curb proliferation of small arms in countries experiencing heightened political differences.  And to our African Brothers and Sisters, let us silence the war cries, let us stop the tears of our mothers, let is stop the bleeding of our continent.”

Burundi has been in violent political conflict since April last year due to the announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza was legible to seek a third term in office.

This sparked protest from the Presidents opposers which led to controversies and widespread demonstrations and caused death of some citizens in the country, several others injured, while others jailed.

The delegation of SECAM bishops was led by Bishop Sithembele Anton Sipuka of the Catholic Diocese of Umtata,South Africa, who is a member of the standing committee of SECAM.

It included representatives from the regional bishop’s conference; the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) and the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC).

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