Report your illegal weapons and we won’t prosecute you, Burundi gov’t tells the public

President Pierre Nkurunziza

President Pierre Nkurunziza

The Burundi cabinet council has adopted a decree granting amnesty to owners of illegal arms willing to hand them over voluntarily. Philippe Nzobonariba Cabinet Secretary, says this initiative is aimed at encouraging whoever wants to surrender their weapon to so without worrying about any charges.

In a statement issued this Wednesday, the government lauds the August 2009 Act on small and light weapons that has led to the recovery of more than 100 thousand weapons.

The authorities in Bujumbura however, are concerned a significant number of weapons and ammunition remains in the wrong hands.

“In spite of that successful result, illegal weapons are still spread across the country in view of several assassination cases, armed robbery as well as armed attacks in some provinces like Cibitoke and Kayanza,” Mr. Nzobonariba said.

The cabinet secretary thanked members of the general public who have chosen to report their guns or at least throw them in the bushes only to be found and collected by the security forces.

“However, they fear sanctions in case one is apprehended while handing their weapon back,” he said, adding that “whoever wants to give back their weapon we guarantee nothing will happen to them.”
Over the past few days, security forces in Bujumbura have been conducting massive search operations in several areas of the capital Bujumbura.

These searches have in the past led to the confiscation of weapons and ammunition, and military and police gear but it is still rare a night to pass without hearing grenade explosions and gunfire, and related deaths in Bujumbura.

During his inaugural address on August 20, President Pierre Nkurunziza, issued a two-month ultimatum to the security forces to restore stability across the country.

Regional leaders, and the international community have called for the swift disarmament of militias notably Imbonerakure youths associated with the ruling CNDD-FDD, these lawless youths have been accused of torturing and killing anti-third term protestors.