Over 300 students at a high school in Burundi have been suspended for scribbling on the photos of President Pierre Nkurunzisa in textbooks.
Speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity on Thursday, a parent disclosed that after the discovery of drawings on the photo of President Nkurunziza in a humanities book, the school staff sent all grade 8 students aged between 14 and 16 years away since Friday.” According to the parent, the students will only be allowed to resume classes after those responsible for the crime were identified.
The matter became an issue of concern, after the management of the Ruziba I Municipal Basic and High School, located south of the Capital Bujumbura learned that forty books used by the students had the photo of the president damaged in so many forms.
While in some of the photos the eyes were gauged out, others carried insults against the president.
According to the News Agency, even though the parents apologized for the doodles during a management meeting, the school “wouldn't hear it".
"It's terrible. We don't know what's going to happen," the worried parent said.
Investigations by Burundi's national intelligence
Commenting on the progress of the investigations and resolution, school director Yves Marimba told the outlet that "a solution has been found" but did not give details on the students' return.
Ruziba, which is in the county of Kanyosha is a throttlehold of key opposition leader Agathon Rwasa.
When reached by AFP, Kanyosha city chief Abdul Bampoye refused to answer questions on the issue, saying he "didn't have any details at the moment."
According to an unnamed teacher who also sought anonymity, the matter has now been “taken over by Burundi's national intelligence and security service and soldiers stationed in Ruziba are the ones who came to lock the doors of all the eighth-grade classes."
"Everyone is afraid," the teacher added
Burundi fell into chaos in April 2015 after Nkurunzisa insisted on seeking a third term in office. He went ahead to win last July amid opposition boycotts.
Since then, different organizations and agencies have tried to reach out to reconcile the people of Burundi in vain.
Most recently, however, the Burundi government and other stakeholders met in Arusha, Tanzania under the facilitation of Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania and mediation of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda.
More dialogues are set to be held in the coming weeks, with an aim of putting an end to the civil war, that has left more than 500 people dead and tens of thousands more have fled the country in search of safety.
Image credit: AP