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Burundi

A map of Burundi Burundi is a mostly mountainous country covered by woodlands and scrubland. In the west, some peaks rise as high as 2685 metres (8809 feet). Their western slopes plunge into East Africa’s Great Rift Valley, a gash in the Earth’s crust. Part of the country’s western border is formed by Lake Tanganyika, an enormous freshwater lake. Although it lies just south of the Equator, Burundi’s humid climate is kept cool by its high altitude. The shores of Lake Tanganyika have a hotter, more tropical climate. Since independence in 1962 Burundi has suffered from decades of civil war. Today, much of the country has been left damaged and undeveloped, while many people have fled the country.



A map of Burundi
Twa (Batwa) women

People

There are three main ethnic groups in Burundi: the Hutu, who make up about 85% of the population, the Tutsi, about 15%, and the Twa, who were some of the first people to live in the region. For centuries, there have been tensions between the country’s Hutu and Tutsi peoples. After independence, these tensions erupted into civil war. Since the 1960s, nearly half a million Burundians have been killed in ethnic violence, and many thousands more have fled to nearby Rwanda to escape the fighting. Children have been badly affected: many have lost their parents to the war or diseases such as HIV/AIDS. The war has also disrupted their education, with very few Burundian children being able to go to school.

In Burundi, many people began jogging together on Saturday mornings during the civil war, often in large groups. Since 2014, jogging has been illegal: anyone found jogging can be sent to prison.

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