The producers of East Africa’s Got Talent have backed some contestants who were accused of illegally playing Burundi’s traditional drums.

The law in Burundi prohibits people from playing the national drums without the government’s authorisation – something the country’s minister of culture pointed out after the performance last Sunday.

Those who make up the drumming troupe are Burundian refugees who had sought refuge in neighbouring Rwanda, which seems to be at the crux of the matter.

The two countries do not have friendly relations, and exchange accusations that they are harbouring the other’s enemies.

Culture Minister Pelate Niyonkuru accused Rwanda of trying to steal its heritage.

But the makers of the TV talent show, which is broadcast in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, said that contestants apply to take part as individuals.

“No act was entered by a government as an official representative of a nation,” it added.

“East Africa’s Got Talent celebrates a wide diversity of talents and takes special pride in showcasing the cultural heritage of the region.”

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