RUSIZI — Eight students of Ecole Secondaire Inférieure (ESI), in Muganza Sector in Rusizi district, have been detained at a police station near CIMERWA cement factory for allegedly procticing ethnic ideology. The students whose names were not easily established by press time were arrested Wednesday this week.
According to police officials at the station, the students were arrested following several reports implicating them for slashing mattresses belonging to student Genocide survivors who are sponsored by the Fund for Genocide Survivors (FARG).
“We found out that many mattresses belonging to Genocide survivors at the school were cut to pieces. Eight students who are in our custody are among the suspects,” a police official told The New Times at CIMERWA police post.
The police officer who preferred to remain anonymous because he does not have authority to speak to the media also revealed that cases of genocide ideology have rocked the school since 2005. ESI Muganza was founded by the Association of Pentecostal Churches in Rwanda (ADEPR).
Jean-Marie Vianney Kaneza whose mattress was among those cut claims that all genocide survivor students at the school have been harassed, intimidated and even beaten up by other fellow students in the past.
“I and my fellow Genocide survivor students in this school have been subjected to a lot of harassment, death threats and even beaten up on baseless grounds by our fellow students who are not survivors of the genocide,” he said.
“But surprisingly, whenever we would report the matter to teachers nothing would be done to address the problem, an indication that the school management entertains the problem,” accused Kaneza.
He added that survivor students would also lose their scholastic materials like calculators, rulers, books, pens and uniforms to their fellow students. Sometimes they would even find urine or water poured on their beds.
Another student who requested not to be named alleged that the school headmaster, Etienne Ngirinshuti, also harbours the genocide ideology.
The student cited discrimination of genocide survivor students, verbal insults and unfair punishment as some of the actions through which the head teacher manifests his ethnic ideology.
“We survivors of the genocide at this school see our Headmaster as someone who is behind all the mistreatment that we have been subjected to because he has never been on our side,” the student said. Efforts to contact the headmaster over the issues were futile, as his mobile phone was off by press time.
However sources say that following the arrest of the eight students, security personnel together with sector leaders held a series of meetings at the school with the school management but details the meetings were not immediately available.