A Burundi school has suspended over 230 teenagers after none of them owned up to defacing the country’s president picture.
“We have decided to temporarily expel some 230 students… because they refused to denounce those among them who defaced a photograph of his Excellency the President of the Republic,” said local government official Aloys Ngenzirabona, from the eastern Gisuru district.
None of the students was ready to write down the culprits even after they were ordered by their teachers.
“We gave them the paper on which they write the names of officials, but they gave us blank sheets,” Ngenzirabona said.
Sources in the education ministry said that as many as a dozen schools have reported similar cases of defacing the president’s portrait. In some of the pictures the eyes had been gouged out, while insults against the president were scrawled over others.
11 other students were earlier this month arrested in the central Muramvya District for insulting Nkurunziza by damaging his portrait and are awaiting trial.
In another case, 300 students from a school in Ruziba, south of the capital Bujumbura, were suspended in early June for the same reason. They have since been allowed back, but police are investigating the case.
Violence in the central African country has left more than 500 people dead and forced more than 270,000 to flee the small central African country, according to the United Nations.