The young man's story is not atypical in the torn country. In his "old life", Justin was a student at the University Sagesse, in the capital Bujumbura's Asian district. His life was turned around when one of his best friends, 15-year-old Jean-Nepo Komezamahoro, was shot down at point blank range by a police officer as he raised his arms in the air between the dissenting districts of Ngagara et Mutakura.
Jean-Nepo, who was killed instantly, was returning from Church where he had celebrated his nomination as cub leader in the scouts. He fell within centimetres of Justin. "He was my friend, a scout, a child, a patriot and a good Christian," Justin recalls. "In my mind that meant the beginning of the war because, at first, the protesters were without machetes or guns but police shot them down, as if they were thieves or evil people."
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