It’s been 21 years since the devastating genocide erupted in Rwanda and since then, the continent of Africa has seen its share of conflict. From child soldiers in Uganda to the recent alignment of Boko Haram with ISIS, few countries have managed to end this year unscathed. Now, the African Union is planning to deploy peacekeepers to the small country of Burundi in the hopes of ending a possible genocide before it even begins.
The African Union has announced that they will “not allow another genocide to take place in its soil.”
This is in response to the tension that has been growing in the country since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term in April. Nkurunziza has presided over Burundi for nearly 10 years and believes that his administration has brought peace to the nation. In the eyes of many, he is a beloved leader, but to others, including 40 different opposing political parties and human rights groups, Nkurunziza is nothing but a dictator who is refusing to relinquish his control of the country. His decision to run for a third term only served to confirm their suspicions and since April, more than 220,000 people have fled to surrounding countries and violence in the nation’s capital of Bujumbura has skyrocketed.
On Friday, December 11, three military sites were attacked, leaving 87 people dead. While this was the largest amount killed at one time, the country has seen a steady stream of violence since April, but it has been particularly dangerous in Bujumbura since the failed coup attempt in May. So far, the violence is entirely political but it has a striking resemblance to the 12 year ethnically charged civil war that ended in 2005, leaving over 300,000 dead. In a nation where around 85% are ethnically Hutu and 14% are ethnically Tutsi, there is a chance of further ethnic violence.
As we celebrate the Christmas season, it is sobering to remember all the turmoil happening around the world. In Matthew 24:6, Jesus reminds us, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” This month we are celebrating the first coming of Christ, as a little baby. He came then during a time of great suffering and strife and the Bible tells us that His second coming will not be that different. We can rest in knowing that God has a plan and that He is coming back soon!
To find out more about what the Bible says about conflict and wars during the last days, check out Dr. Hindson’s book End-Times Wars.