GICUMBI - The confusion at Gihembe Refugee Primary School this week took a new twist, when police arrested the school’s headmistress; Julie Mukantabara, for allegedly promoting ethnic divisionism among teachers and pupils at the school.
The school is located at Gihembe refugee camp that hosts thousands of Congolese refugees.
Speaking to The New Times on Friday, a police source in Gicumbi confirmed the arrest, disclosing that Mukantabara was arrested Thursday and is being detained at Byumba Police station.
“After thorough investigations, the police have gathered enough incriminating evidence against Mukantabara’s alleged promotion of ethnic division at the refugees’ primary school”, the source said.
He added that the police are preparing to file charges against Mukantabara.
Mukantabara was last year accused by the teaching staff of promoting ethnic divisionism, in a letter addressed to the Refugees’ Executive committee. The letter was signed by 65 teachers and copied to the police, district authorities and the United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR).
The standoff between Mukantabara and the teachers resulted in the sacking, last week, by the Jesuits Refugee Services (JRS) of four teachers, members of the school executive committee
Gicumbi District authorities later recommended the immediate reinstatement of the sacked teachers in a meeting convened at the district conference hall and chaired by the District Director of Education, Deogratius Mwanafunzi.
The meeting brought together Refugees’ executive committee, Byumba UNHCR field officer, Richard Ndaula, JRS country Director, Gerard Clerke and a representative of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, Mark Shakagabo.