Family caught in civil unrest

Ray and Mary Anne Bale operate an orphanage in Bujumbura, Burundi.

Uncertainty continues to create challenges for a Vernon family in central Africa.

Violence has escalated recently in Burundi as competing groups have been attempting to gain control of the government since April.

“Things are quite bad here and it is not clear where it us all heading,” said Ray Bale, who runs an orphanage with wife Mary Anne and son Boss in Bujumbura.

Dozens of people died when military camps were attacked Dec. 11, and security forces then arrested hundreds of men and allegedly killed many of them.

“Our (Canadian) embassy has recommended we leave but we feel right to monitor things on the ground here for now,” said Bale.

“There’s lots of fear. People are afraid to leave their homes, or if they have, now afraid to return.”

The United Nations is calling for the violence to end and negotiations to begin among the factions.

“More than ever before, there is an urgent need for decisive action from the international community to stop this senseless violence. We cannot turn our backs on the people of Burundi at this turning point of their history,” said Cecile Pouilly High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson, in a statement.

“With this latest series of bloody events, the country seems to have taken a new step towards outright civil war and tensions are now at bursting point in Bujumbura.”

sThe violence began in the spring when president Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a controversial third term.

Bale admits the violence is unsettling.

“Darkness is the toughest time and it lasts 12 hours here. By 7 p.m., the city has an eerie quietness about it until the shooting and explosions start,” he said.

 

Just Posted

Hospice to Vernon council race candidate dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Second bocce tourney boosts mental health cancelled

Predator Ridge Resort was to host the one-day event in partnership with Greater Vernon Bocce Open for mental health awareness

Garage sale to aid in kidney transplant recovery in Vernon Saturday

The event is set to take place at the Autoplex on 29th Street from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP’s weekly wanted

Four people wanted by Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP are various outstanding warrants

Vernon-trained cyclist comes out of retirement for record-breaking ride

Golstein is partnering with Vernon’s Venture Training.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only seven of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

BALONEY METER: Do Liberal policies mean a typical family is $2,000 richer?

MPs took to Twitter to talk how ‘typical’ Canadian families have more money due to Liberal policies

Most Read