17 April 2019

Burundi: School Girls Expelled for Defacing Nkurunzinza's Photo

Photo: Lomé Raumay ‏
Activists outraged after Burundi jails schoolchildren for writing on president's photo - now they're responding with drawings of their own.

Do you remember the school girls who were recently detained by the police in Burundi for reportedly doodling on a picture of the country's president?

Well, it seems their troubles are far from over following reports by CNN that they have been expelled from school in relation to the incident.

"As stipulated by the school regulations in Article 31 paragraph 28, these five students are permanently expelled from school," a statement signed by L'Ecofo Akamuri School director Isaie Nkinzingabo read.

The girls, who are all minors, were detained for six days in March at the Ngozi Central Prison and charged with 'insulting the Head of State', Pierre Nkurunzinza, a Bujumbura based human rights agency reported.

GIRLS' DETENTION

Their detention sparked worldwide anger with many taking to social media to post defaced pictures of Nkurunzinza with the hashtag #FreeOurGirls.

A boy, who was not charged with any offences but was arrested as part of the initial group of seven, and another girl have also been expelled in relation to the incident.

"It is good news they were released, but the charges still haven't been dropped, and they have now been expelled from school. This is affecting their education," the Human Rights Group explained.

ARRESTED

This isn't the first major incident involving school children and the Burundi government.

In 2016, agents of the National Intelligence Service of Burundi arrested eight secondary school students for allegedly insulting President Nkurunzinza by writing phrases like 'Get out' or 'No to 3rd term' on a picture of the president in a textbook, according to a Human Rights Watch.

Nkurunzinza has ruled Burundi since 2005. He was elected for a third term in 2015 despite massive protests and concerns over the legality of running beyond his second term.

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