The central African state of Burundi has expelled fifty-two missionaries, all of them accused of inciting a rebellion against the military government of President Jean Baptiste Bagaza.
Alfons Heyman provincial Superior of the White Fathers order of Belgium speech.
HEYMAN: "In the past two weeks church leaders in Burundi and the religious authorities of those missionaries here in Europe ignored the detailed motives of the measure taken against the missionaries. The general motive given has been only that they have acted against the state security. But the missionaries ignore all details of this particular accusation. On the other hand when questioning the missionaries about possible racial tension in Burundi, or arbitrary arrests made in the last month, all of them, the ones who are questioned individually and a group who were questioned late in the morning of Tuesday, the 12th of June have denied categorically that there were any persons disappearing or arrests being made without any clear reason, or any signs of fresh tension. It is said by some press agencies that certain government authorities in Burundi who normally should have been advised of the measure taken against the missionaries were not informed about it. The missionaries who arrived in Brussels yesterday have only said that the measure of expulsion taken against them was communicated by the local authorities either on district or provincial level but they have no further knowledge of what is happening in the high authorities of the country."
Background: The central African state of Burundi has expelled fifty-two missionaries, all of them accused of inciting a rebellion against the military government of President Jean Baptiste Bagaza. The Burundi News Agency reported on Wednesday (13 June) that the missionaries had already left the country. The Agency said the missionaries had been encouraging young people to flee Burundi, by telling them civil war was about to break out. Some of the missionaries were from The White Fathers order in Belgium. The Provincial Superior of the White Fathers, Alfons Heyman, said in Brussels on Wednesday (13 June) that the reason given for the expulsion was that the missionaries threatened state security.