27 May 2015

Grenade attack in Burundi kills young woman from SOS Children’s Villages

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephanie Rendon, 202.470.5182, srendon@sos-usa.org

BUJUMBURA, Burundi –A young woman who grew up at an SOS Children’s Village in Burundi died Saturday from injuries she suffered when grenades were thrown into a market Friday in Bujumbura, the Burundian capital. The grenade attack killed three people and injured at least 10 others, including another young woman who grew at the same SOS village.

“Naila Kamariza [and Yvette, the other SOS alumna injured in the attack] had gone to a market in the city to buy fruits and vegetables,” said Liliane Habonimana, communication and fundraising advisor at SOS Children’s Villages Burundi. “An unknown person hurled a grenade into the marketplace injuring both girls among other shoppers. Naila succumbed to her injuries on Saturday while Yvette is recovering in Prince Louis Rwagasore Clinic. The doctor has confirmed that Yvette is out of danger and will recover from her wounds.”

Naila and Yvette, both 24, grew up in the SOS Children’s Village in Muyinga, Burundi, and went on to study at the University of Great Lakes in Bujumbura. They both lived independently but were receiving support from SOS Children’s Villages Burundi for their education.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of this young and promising life,” said Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages – USA. “This tragedy is another example of the deteriorating situation in Bujumbura and its surrounding areas. Our staff is on high alert to ensure children living in our SOS Villages are safe and cared for during this difficult time.”

On April 26, civil unrest erupted in Burundi after the ruling party announced that President Pierre Nkurunziza would be seeking a third term. Mass protests organized by civilians who believe his bid is illegal have turned violent, resulting in at least 20 people dead and more than 400 injured. More than 100,000 people have fled Burundi due to the recent violence, with the number of refugees expected to more than double.

SOS Children's Villages is the largest organization devoted to the care of orphaned and abandoned children. With 545 villages in more than 130 countries and territories, SOS Children's Villages is helping to raise over 82,000 children.

Since 1979, SOS Children’s Villages - Burundi has provided care to children without parental care in five locations: Bujumbura, Cibitoke, Gitega, Muyinga and Rutana. In addition, the organization implements family-strengthening programs in each location, offering day care services, education, vocational training and medical assistance to support vulnerable families and prevent separation. To learn more about SOS Children's Villages, visit www.sos-usa.org or follow us on Twitter at @SOSChildrenUSA.