Burundi (MNN) — There’s no signs of slowing down for the violence in Burundi.
Over 600 people have been killed this year due to political conflict, and over 220,000 people have been forced from their homes. Since this past April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term, there have been protests, violence, and even a failed coup in May.
Most recently, last Thursday and Friday, 87 people were reportedly killed as an armed insurgency attacked three Burundian army bases. It was the worst violence the country saw since April.
“He was put in by the government, so he wasn’t elected by the people for what was his first term,” says Amie Cotton with Christian Aid Mission, an organization that assists indigenous missionaries around the world. “So he’s feeling as if he can run for office, and this is his true second term.”
The violence stems from a long-rooted conflict between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi people. In fact, some say the country is on the verge of another civil war.
“They do tend to take sides based on their tribes and where they come from,” Cotton says. “So that compounds the unrest.
Beside ethnic conflict, Christians also face persecution. But the good news is that Christian Aid Mission is working to give them hope, as well as spread Christ’s love throughout the country.
“We assist two ministries that are there in Burundi working with the persecuted church and evangelizing, helping women and children, widows and orphans,” Cotton says. “They do church planting and also have a prison ministry. There is a lot of unrest, and we need to pray that the people will come to a resolution over the situation and that there will be peace in the region again.
“Some [Christians] are underground; they’re persecuted, and so pray for their safety. Pray for the missionaries that are there. We here in America can make a difference by enabling the people that are on the ground there.”
Interested in how you can do that? Click here to to donate to Christian Aid Mission’s “Where Most Needed” fund.