DRC students protest against expulsions over papers

Students from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who are studying in Burundi are protesting against administrative hassles, with more than 100 having been expelled because they did not have the right papers.

They started boycotting their courses on 23 September, reported the African French-language section of Deutsche Welle, with the protest planned to continue until the Burundi government reverses its decision to expel the students.

Matters became worse with the arrest of a student representative. Another student told Deutsche Welle: “Our representative has been arrested; it’s panic, students feel threatened. As well as the document which authorises us to go around the Grands Lacs region, they’re making us buy a visa which costs 500 dollars.”

Another student posted on social media: “We, students living in Burundi, are now living in a hostile situation in Burundi. The police in this country are treating us in an inhuman manner following a charge of lacking documents we need to live in their country.”

According to the authorities the students did not have the necessary papers. Deutsche Welle quoted Pierre Nkurikiye, spokesman for the public security ministry as saying: “These Congolese have been expelled from Burundi because they were not in possession of the required administrative documents, including passport and study or residence visa, necessary for foreign students. When they are apprehended they brandish a document called a special authorisation of circulation. This is a document which gives them authorisation to move around Burundi and is valid for three months. But it does not give permission to take up residence in Burundi to study here.”

In the past two months 138 Congolese have been sent home, and the public security ministry confirmed it was continuing to expel Congolese students in an irregular situation, reported DW. – Compiled by Jane Marshall

This article is drawn from local media.
University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.