The Burundian government has accused the Belgian embassy in the capital Bujumbura of smuggling its people out of the country with evil intentions.
Philippe Nzobonariba, the Secretary-General of Government, denounced the action saying it was intended to tarnish the country’s image abroad.
Here is his full statement:
The Government of Burundi said it learned through media outlets, the Swiss newspaper “Liberty”, that a group of 21 artists Burundian drummers participated from 12 to 19 August 2018 in Friborg, Switzerland at the Festival Rencontres de Folklores Internationales (RFI).
These Burundian artists would have volatilized in the wild as indicated in the Journal.
The same newspaper quotes the President of the Folklores Meetings Which states that “Since Switzerland has no representation in this African country, the short-term visa allowing members of this folk group to travel in the Schengen area was issued by the Belgium after we had provided them with an invitation for our demonstration”.
The manager of this activity adds that: “They told us that they were in danger of death”.
Following such serious information, the Government of Burundi has proceed to verify the facts and veracity of the existence of the alleged group of drummers who would have gone to Switzerland for an exhibition folk.
After verification, it turns out that the Ministry in charge of Culture has not at all informed of Burundi’s exit from this group of drummers, nor of the existence of this cultural event, whereas it is he who must be seized first for exit procedures.
Also, Bujumbura International Airport Services do not have Recorded output of a group of Tambourinaires, let alone drums Burundians boarded for Switzerland during this period.
The drums that the so-called Burundian artists have used, would have come of Germany through a group of accomplices in their disappearance.
In addition, the services of the General Secretariat of the Government, which is the only body authorized to issue official mission orders for any activity engaging in the exhibition of national colours abroad, have not registered no mission order request file in this sense and therefore no mission order on the basis of which this kind of visa was to be issued therefore not issued.
More curious, the costumes worn by the fake tambourines do not reflect the national colours of Burundi like those worn by our famous artists both abroad and in their country.
It is neither more nor less than a cultural swindle operation.
The Government of Burundi was astonished at the ease with which the Belgian Embassy has issued visas to people who are supposed to represent Burundi without presenting any official document, when we know how getting a Schengen visa is not easy.
Indeed, consular services of this embassy are very watchful when officials are applying for this type of visa, yet with the documents required support.
From the foregoing, the Government of Burundi can only to conclude that the Embassy of Belgium has been manipulated and Burundi and the networks of smugglers and smugglers of human beings, some of whom other objectives than to tarnish the image of the country if we take into account the statements from the person in charge of the event in person, citing the artists who claim they were in danger of death in their country.
The Government of Burundi condemns this act of cheating especially as the fact is not random since it is organized on the eve of a meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva this September, without forgetting the elections scheduled for 2020.
The Government of Burundi therefore holds the Embassy of Belgium to responsible for the consequences of granting facilities to persons whose acts have no other purpose than to tarnish the image of Burundi, at a time when the International Community recognizes the positive evolution of the situation both at the security and political levels.
No doubt that the members of the team of fake drummers are not the first to benefit from a such complicity.
The Government recalls that the Burundian Drum was inscribed intangible heritage of humanity and no person or group of persons cannot arrogate the right of its use, still in a way, abusive without that Burundi be informed.