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Country information: Burundi

Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 8,988,000; Africa Southeast Area; DR Congo Kinshasa Mission.

Burundi, formerly known as Urundi, became independent from Belgium on 1 July 1962. Located in east-central Africa bordered by Tanzania, Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda. The official languages are Kirundi and French, with Swahili also spoken, and 67 percent of the people are Christian, while 23 percent follow tribal beliefs, and 10 percent Muslim.

In 1984, Egide Nzojibwami and his wife, Beatrice, were baptized in Liege, Belgium, while pursuing studies in that country. Soon thereafter, returned to Burundi. They conducted a Sunday School and other meetings in their home in Bujumbura, though the Church wasn't officially established.

In 1992, Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Seventy traveled to Burundi and met with a representative of the government. The official initially denied the application for recognition, but after Elder Tingey read a list of values from For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, the official was so impressed that he asked for copies to distribute to members of his own church. About a month later, the Church received official recognition for the government.

With official recognition in place, Homer M. LeBaron, president of the Zaire Kinshasa Mission, met with the Nzojibwami family and arranged for the organization of a branch in the capital city of Bujumbura, on 29 November 1992, with Egide Nzojibwami as president. The first branch meeting was held two days later with 39 attending. The first convert in Burundi, Bosco Nikondeha was baptized 6 December 1992.

Soon after the branch was organized, missionaries from the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission were assigned to the country. They were Francois Boue, Felix Gnamba, Aime Cesar Kipre, and Bassin Kouhon.?

There was a coup in October 1993. In 1996, the constitution was suspended. The branch was discontinued shortly after thereafter. Currently, there is no functioning branch in the country.

Sources: "Branch Flourishing in Burundi," Church News, 21 August 1993; Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission, Manuscript history and historical reports, Church Archives; "Burundi," The World Fact Book, www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/by.html, 1 June 2004; Earl C. Tingey, "Establishing Eternal Patterns," Church News, 5 May 2002.

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