Burundi Urges Freeing Students Accused of Defacing Leader Photos

Burundi lawmakers called for the release of at least 13 high-school students detained on accusations they defaced images of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Daniel Gelase Ndabirabe, a ruling party spokesman, said the students could be released and “taught patriotism,” during a session of the East African nation’s parliament broadcast on national television. Opposition coalition leader Agathon Rwasa also backed such a move, he told the assembly.

Schools in landlocked Burundi have seen a wave of alleged vandalism of images of the president in textbooks, with more than 530 students suspended last month. The country has been rocked by unrest that’s left more than 470 people dead since April 2015, when Nkurunziza decided to stand for re-election, a move his opponents said was unconstitutional.

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