On Sunday morning, Pope Francis called for prayers for the people of Burundi, where violent clashes have broken out following a failed coup last week. “I also wish to invite you to pray for the dear people of Burundi, who are living in a delicate moment,” the pontiff said in his May 17 address ahead of the Regina Caeli prayers. “May the Lord help everyone flee the violence and act responsibly for the good of the country.” The Pope was speaking at the conclusion of Mass for the canonization of four saints in Saint Peter’s Square. Violence broke out last week after a failed coup against Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza. Around 20 people have been killed in the unrest, and tens of thousands have fled the country. Eighteen suspected perpetrators of the coup were in court on Saturday, while the alleged ringleader, Major General Godefroid Niyombare, is still at large, according to BBC News. Unrest began with protests starting April 26, one day after Nkurunziza announced he would be running to be reelected for a third term in office. Opponents said a third presidential term was unconstitutional. Some 600 protesters have been arrested. A coup was announced on May 13, but it appears to have failed as of the following day. Burundi is in southeast Africa and borders the Central African Republic, Tanzania, and Rwanda. The country is the second poorest in the world. According to the World Bank, around 60 percent of its 10.4 million people do not have enough food.
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