Thirty military candidates from Cibitoke expelled from training to join national army

Six Noncommissioned Officer Candidates and 24 soldiers from Cibitoke Province were expelled on 20 July from military training taking place in Bururi Province in southern Burundi since 14 July 2018. They say they are victims of the region from which they come.

Expelled military candidates at Cibitoke Province office

Expelled military candidates at Cibitoke Province office

More than 80 military candidates were selected in Cibitoke province to attend the military training. “We joined other candidates from various provinces on Sunday, July 14, in Bururi to attend military training that would allow us to enter the army,” says Patrick Niyomwungere, one of the expelled military candidates. Camp authorities had checked our identification before we started training and everything was right, he says.

“The situation changed on Friday, July 20. They once again checked our identities, “says Niyomwungere adding that after running a second check the camp authorities asked them to prepare their luggage to return to their respective homes without being told the reason of their expulsion.
“Having arrived in Cibitoke Province chief town, local authorities told us that we are not from Cibitoke,” said Niyomwungere adding that “it is injustice.”. He says that his parents have been living in Cibitoke province for a long time. “The government had accommodated them in that area in the framework of assisting disabled former combatants.”

The parents of these expelled candidates are appalled. “It is inconceivable that provincial authorities deny us,” says Jean Berchmans Congera, one of the expelled candidates’ parents. This old-age pensioner claims to have been settled in Rugombo commune by the government, five years ago in the context of assisting disabled- former combatants.

He worries that this non-recognition may traumatize his son. “He will feel rejected by the society”
Another parent in his sixties wonders how many years of residence one is recognized as a province resident. “I just spent more than 15 years in Cibitoke, what kind of identity do they want me and my children to have?” For him, if their children are not recognized in the province, they would not have been allowed to pass the provincial test admitting them to attend military training.

He asks that justice be done and these children’s rights be respected.
Iwacu tried to contact the spokesman for the army in vain.

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