Burundi has pulled out from military games and cultural shows that are bringing together soldiers from East African Community country members in Kigali effective August 8.
The East African Military Games and Cultural Event, 10th edition are scheduled to take place between 8 and 18th August at Amahoro National Stadium, Nyamirambo and Kicukiro Stadiums all from City of Kigali.
Games from five disciplines including; Handball, Cross-Country, Football, Basketball and Netball are basically meant “to contribute to confidence building, friendship and cooperation, nurturing esprit de corps amongst the EAC Partner States’ Defence Forces.”
Teams from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are already in Kigali, ready to show their best in sporting.
However, in a press conference on August 6th, the Chief of Defense Staff of Rwanda Defense Force Gen Patrick Nyamvumba indicated that Burundi is missing on the list.
“Burundian teams requested more time to prepare but other participants examined their requests and found it was too late,” said Gen Nyamvumba.
Nyamvumba told the media that when a country member has a request regarding participation, it normally submits it to the other four members who examine it together.
The case of Burundi, said Nyamvumba came when other teams had finished to prepare and to fix the date for the event.
The event, themed One People, One Destiny will attract over 500 participants representing the various services of the Defence Forces of the EAC Partner States.
The 10th edition will be launched on Monday August 8th at Amahoro stadium, 11am. Rwanda will face Kenya in opening at 4pm, in football game.
In other words, the public will watch a beautiful game between RDF side APR FC and Kenyan Defense Force’s Ulinzi Stars.
The teams met in finals of CECAFA Kagame Cup in 2004 and APR FC won the title.
“I warmly welcome and wish a pleasant stay in Rwanda to all participants who have come to take part of this event,” said Gen Nyamvumba who also reminded that entrance to all stadiums is free.
East African Military Games and Cultural Event has been taking place since 2005 on rotational basis in EAC member states.
It is being held within the framework of the East African Community Protocol on Cooperation in Defence Matters which has specific provisions for Sports and Cultural cooperation as well as Joint Military Exercises.
Rwanda is hosting the event for the second time; first time was in 2009. Last year, Rwandan teams won most of the titles including; Football, Handball and Basketball in Kampala/ Uganda.
Meanwhile, Burundi absence in regional events is becoming remarkable. During the 27th African Union Assembly which concluded in Kigali last month, participants were shocked to find Burundi delegation had boarded back home a day after the meeting had kicked off.