Three thousand Congolese students who were enrolled into the army after clashes with troops on their campus in June, have been allowed to return to their studies, but still wearing their military uniforms.
Three thousand Congolese students who were enrolled into the army after clashes with troops on their campus in June, have been allowed to return to their studies, but still wearing their military uniforms. They will continue to wear uniform for the rest of their two-year service, followed by 20 years in the army reserve.
Before their return to university (on 7 September), the students took part in a special ceremony at Camp Tshatshi, attended by President Joseph Mobutu, who had personally authorised their return to campus. Also at the ceremony was General Antoine Bumba, who was able to report that his mission of disciplining the students had been successfully accomplished.
SYNOPSIS: In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, President Joseph Mobutu went to Camp Tshatshi recently for a unique military parade. The occasion was a ceremony to mark the return to their studies of three thousand soldier-students. The students had been drafted into the army in June after clashes with troops on the Lovanium University campus. General Antoine Bumba, who had been given the responsibility of disciplining the students, had been able report mission accomplished, and the stud were allowed to return to their books this month ready to start a new academic year.
The students went on parade for the last time at the army camp, watched by President Mobutu, the President of the National Assembly and the Minister of the Interior Soon afterwards they were dispersed to the three campuses of the new National University, set up after the June disorders, at Kinshasa, Kisangani and Lubumbashi. But they are unlikely to forget their time at the camp, and officially they remain under army discipline.
The student-soldiers will continue to wear army uniform for the two years of their service, and will be reservists for another 20 years. They will also be required to spend their vacations in military camps. While they are on the campus, the students will begin and end the day with a flag ceremony, and their daily routine will include physical training. When they finally take up their civilian careers, they will carry with them military ranks ranging from corporal to subaltern, according to merit. They will also be physically fit....
Lack of patriotism and indiscipline were the charges against the students. They arose out of a mock funeral held on the campus in memory of six students killed in a clash with the army two years ago.