Bishop survives assassination plot in Burundi

Arch Bishop Ngoyagoye

Arch Bishop Ngoyagoye

A Sunday mass was cut short at Mont Sion Church in the capital Bujumbura following information of an assassination plot against Arch Bishop Evariste Ngoyagoye, who was conducting a special prayer for peace in Burundi.

According to the person who confessed to be one of the gang of 40 would be assassins who decided to unveil the plan to a Voice of America correspondent, the grenade attack would have targeted the bishop, one of the Roman Catholic leaders who opposed the President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term bid.

Bishop Ngoyagoye was leading a Roman Catholic Church procession aiming at praying for peace in the country that has seen chaos since CNDD-FDD nominated Nkuruziza as their candidate in the next election. He was obliged to suspend it as he demanded all Christians to remain calm and united.

This development comes following recent decision by the Council of the Roman Catholic Bishops in Burundi to order all its priests to withdraw from all election-related preparations as heads of Independent Provincial and Communal electoral commissions.

Prior to the decision, Pascal Nyabenda, Chairman of the ruling party CNDD-FDD, had strongly urged the Roman Catholic Church, particularly archbishops of Bujumbura and Gitega, Evariste Ngoyagoye and Simon Ntamwana respectively, not to worsen the situation by pulling out of the electoral process.

The CNDD-FDD has been harsh against whoever opposes President Nkurunziza’s third term bid. Prominent CNDD-FDD members who have dared to say ‘no’ to his controversial candidacy have lost their party membership, and jobs across the country in a systematic purge.

Less than a week before the parliamentary and communal elections scheduled on June 5, the situation is growing worse and worse. Two senior members of the country’s electoral commission have quit; Illuminata Ndabahagamye, Financial Officer, and Spes-Caritas Ndironkeye the Vice President