Is ethnic balance still a concern to Burundian army recruitment?

Unbalanced concerns rose last week when Burundian army was recruiting new officers but most of Tutsi regime boycotted the event while Hutu regime fully registered to join government army. On 18 November 2016, the overall registered candidates were 1278; among them 976 were Hutu while only 246 were Tutsi and the 6 from minority regime, Twa.

It was early mentioned that some of Tutsi soldiers killed, imprisoned and abducted by the current regime; and this assumed to be something behind the boycott.

A team made of lecturers from the University of Burundi and the Higher Institute of Military Officers (ISCAM) begun  on 21 November 2016 correcting copies of officer candidates who applied to join the ISCAM 2016 edition.

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Gaspard Baratuza, the spokesman of the Burundi army says the 50% of Tutsi and 50% of Hutu will be respected when recruiting those young officers as required by Burundi Constitution. Usually, the Ministry of National Defense is authorized to recruit between 50 and 100 officers each year. Baratuza hopes that 100 new officers will join ISCAM in this 2016 edition.

He denies information that Tutsi did not apply as it was expected due to some reported cases of Tutsi soldiers killed, imprisoned and abducted by the current regime. “The army recruits those who are both willing and able. We do not force anybody to enter the Burundian army,” says Colonel Baratuza.

He recognizes that the number of registered Tutsi is smaller than the Hutu’s. But the number of Tutsi required by the constitution has been reached as well as calling on everybody not to mix military affairs with political issues, Iwacu reports.

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Burundi army says among the current overall 1379 candidates registered, 1339 candidates have been able to take the written exams of French, Mathematics and English courses. 40 candidates among those who applied were absent for various reasons and a physical test will also be done on 26 November in the centers of all Burundi provinces where candidates sat for the intellectual capacity test.

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