Burundi erupts with violence.

By April 13, 2004

Burundi (MNN)–At least 21 people died in fighting this weekend in a suburb of Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura.

Forces for National Liberation, the only Hutu rebel group in Burundi that has not reached a peace settlement with the government, responded violently when army forces tried to move them from their stronghold. The resulting fight sent nearly 30-thousand people fleeing from their homes, seeking refuge in local churches and nearby hills.

International Bible Society’s Brian LeMay says he wasn’t surprised by word of the attacks. For the rebels, he says it boils down to survival. “There’s just not, really, any way to make income, to make a living; to eke out an existence in Burundi is very difficult. So, with these guerillas coming down and especially attacking the capital, the instabilities are going to be incredible. If 30-thousand people are leaving that small city, I just can’t imagine the economic impact.”

The IBS team is situated in the heart of the Bujumbura, insulated from the unrest worrying the edges of the city. LeMay says their team responded to a similar disaster almost exactly one year ago. While he hasn’t been in direct contact with them since the fighting broke out, he expects they are moving a similar response.

The need, he says, will be obvious. “With the amount of people being out of work, there’s going to be a lot of need for ministering to people regarding what’s going to happen, what’s their future going to hold. That’s something that we’ve done in the past trying to direct them and let them know that there is a loving God that there is someone that really cares about them.”

Pray for the safety of those involved with the Scripture distributions, for the widow ministry and that hearts will respond to the Gospel.

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