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Burundi official accuses Church of ‘sponsoring terrorism’ as crisis engulfs the country


Church told its ‘attitudes must change’ as fears grow of civil war

A Catholic aid official has urged the government of Burundi not to threaten the Church, which he says plays an important role in sustaining society.

“The Church is engaged in peacemaking by bringing communities together and explaining to politicians the importance of talking to each other,” said Patrick Nicholson, communications director of Caritas Internationalis. “But it’s also giving crucial support to agriculture, schooling and multiple social services, including health care, which would be in a dramatic state without the church’s 101 hospitals and clinics. People would face great hardships if the Church’s work was discontinued.”

Burundi was plunged into chaos in 2015 following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s acceptance of a third term in apparent violation of the constitution. The government banned demonstrations and restricted the media, and thousands of Burundians – including the vice president of the constitutional court – fled to neighbouring countries.

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