Burundi: Emmaus ALDP at the heart of the crisis

Burundi: Emmaus ALDP at the heart of the crisis

Burundi is going through a violent political crisis and Emmaus Association to Fight Crime and Poverty (ALDP) has requested emergency funding from Emmaus International and Emmaus Africa in order to help the dozens of people seeking refuge in its premises.

When Pierre Nkurunziza was re-elected as president for a third mandate in July, conflict between the government and opposition plunged the country into a state of violence. The population is constantly on the run from repression and confrontations between the security forces and other groups. In the capital, Bujumbura, certain neighbourhoods are now so dangerous that people no longer dare to go home. For two months now the Emmaus ALDP association, located in one of the capital’s still relatively calm neighbourhoods, has been providing shelter to refugees fleeing the violence.

“The association is located in Kinama, a neighbourhood where many people who have left their homes are seeking shelter” explains Anaclet Katumbulu, head of the association: “We are housing 18 people in the school and 25 in the premises of the association’s headquarters. We have managed to continue holding lessons during the afternoons, in the evenings the classrooms turn into a refugee camp. Six teachers and four instructors are forced to stay here, as are some students, who are joined by their families after class. My own family has sought refuge in Kinama, in the office of ALDP’s carpentry workshop. Our neighbourhood Cibitoke has become too dangerous. Yet even in Kinama we constantly hear shooting, we see bullets whistle past. No one goes out, everyone avoids meeting in groups and no one goes to the market apart from when it’s absolutely necessary, to buy food.

The 3,300 euros sent by Emmaus has enabled us to help feed the people sheltering here for the past two months. However, these funds will soon run out and we do not really see a way of sending these people home this week.
We have not given up hope, the negotiations that fell apart could recommence in Tanzania and the African Union could intervene, but for the moment nothing is sure and the events are unfolding very rapidly, even over the course of a day.”