According to a presidential decree issued on 26 May, 23 officers have been dismissed from the Burundi National Defense Forces. They are accused of deserting Burundian army. One of dismissed officers accuses the government of repressing the soldiers of the former armed forces (ex FAB).
The spokesman for the Burundian army, Colonel Gaspard Baratuza, says 23 officers were dismissed from the army following their failure to comply with Burundi army regulation. “They had been sent to pursue their master and doctorate studies especially in France, Belgium, Canada and in Rwanda. After the expiration of the authorized stay, they did not return to serve the nation, “said Baratuza. The majority of those officers were sent from 2005 to 2008. They were expected to return in 2015, according to the army spokesman.
He also says the Ministry of Defense had responded favorably to their request for an extension of the study period. “The military rule requires that every soldier must serve the country until the supreme sacrifice. That is the reason why they have been dismissed from the army, “Maratuza said.
This dismissal is part of the targeted repression against ex-FAB
One of the officers affected by the sanction measure who wishes to remain anonymous says that the 80% of the dismissed officers are ex-FAB.
This Burundian soldier who is currently based in Belgium accuses the Burundian government of repressing ex-FAB.
He says that some of the 23 officers had not yet completed their studies and had asked for the extension for their study period to the Minister of National Defense and that the latter ordered them to definitely come back to Burundi. “So, they realized they were targeted,” he said.
He also says that some had just spent two or three years without getting their salary or scholarships while others did not want to return to the country because they were informed by their colleagues that once they come back they would be killed.
Our source says that these soldiers were not informed of their dismissal. “We saw on the social networks the presidential decree saying the dismissal of 23 officers including myself. This is surprising because the Military Attaché at Burundian Embassy to Belgium did not inform us, “he says.
“How do they want us to go back to the country when the Ministry has not sent us the air tickets?” he wonders.
The International Federation for Human Rights reports that since the beginning of the current Burundi crisis, several dozen ex-FAB have been arrested, detained, tortured, reported missing or have been executed.