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Burundi bishops warn against chaos, say elections should not be repeated

June 22, 2010

The bishops of Burundi are opposing calls by the nation’s political opposition to repeat the local elections of May 24. Alleging that fraud took place, the opposition is boycotting the June 28 presidential election and the July legislative elections.

“On the basis of reports sent in by our own observers present at the elections, and on reports by other observers of the civil society, and taking into account the replies given by the independent electoral commissions to appeals presented by the parties which reject the results of the vote, there is no valid reason why the elections should be repeated,” the bishops said in their statement, which was read in every parish.

As grenade attacks attributed to the opposition injured 21, the bishops called for the restoration of order. “We call on the government and on the political parties, each in his own area of responsibility, to guarantee security, in order to prevent the country from falling once again into crisis.” Hutu-Tutsi conflicts in Burundi left 160,000 dead in 1972-73 and at least 150,000 between 1993 and 1996.

The nation of 7.8 million is 67% Catholic.


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