Gitega, Burundi, Sep 23, 2019 / 17:59 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Government officials in Burundi have accused the country’s bishops of spreading hatred and division following a message from the bishops warning of violence and corruption in the country’s election preparations.
According to AFP, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Burundi released a letter voicing concern over efforts to “suffocate” certain political parties ahead of the May 20 presidential election.
The letter, which was read in churches over the weekend, warned that “[c]riminal acts go as far as murders with political motives ... perpetuated against those with different opinions of the government,” AFP reported.
The bishops also warned that the Imbonerakure – the youth wing of the ruling party – had replaced security forces in the country. UN investigators have accused the Imbonerakure of widespread human rights abuses, including murder, rape, torture, and arbitrary detainment against political opponents.
In response to the letter, Evariste Ndayishimiye, secretary-general of the ruling party, accused the bishops of “sowing division” and “spread[ing] hatred.”