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159 Congolese Refugees slaughtered in refugee camp near Bujumbura
By Bishop Pie Ntukamazina
 
EAB PRESS 040830-1
August 30, 2004

[EAB Press - Burundi] At Gatumba, 10 km from Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi, and 5 km from its western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, armed people who have not yet identified themselves slaughtered 159 Congolese refugees (Banyamulenge). Many of the victims were women and children. Among the men killed were 5 pastors from different Christian denominations. More than 200 people were seriously injured and were evacuated to nearby hospitals and clinics in Bujumbura. The slaughter took place around 10 p.m. and lasted until midnight. Guns, bombs, grenades and knives were used during the attacks.

Another camp of Congolese (Bafurero) situated nearby was not attacked.

The president of Burundi, Domitien Ndayizeye, and vice-president, Alphonse Marie Kadege, along with representatives of the United Nations (ONUB) and UNHCR visited the camp this morning to see what had happened. Mr. Ndayizeye concluded that the country had been attacked and assured the survivors that the government would do its best to protect them.

These events took place shortly after the visit of the Congolese vice-president, Azarias Ruberwa, who was in Bujumbura for a three-day visit for talks with the Burundi authorities, and to visit the Congolese refugee camps.

There are some concerns that this sad, and terrible, event may be connected with various crimes and ambushes that have happened recently in different parts of Burundi.

We, as a Church, are calling on all peacemakers, friends, and partners to continue praying for peace with us. We also request support for the peace process in any way that is possible in order that the culture of violence that is sweeping this region in general, and Burundi in particular, will stop and peace will be restored.