Report your illegal weapons or face wrath of the law, Nkurunziza tells public

HAND OVER WEAPONS: President Pierre Nkurunziza has appealed to the Burundian public

HAND OVER WEAPONS: President Pierre Nkurunziza has appealed to the Burundian public

Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza, has issued a month-long ultimatum to Burundians possessing illegal arms to hand them over to authorities or state will apply drastic force.

In his message to the public Wednesday, President Nkurunziza appealed to citizens with illegal weapons to heed his call.

“A lot of weapons have been withdrawn from the wrong hands and the government reiterates its call to whoever owns an illegal weapon to hand it over as quickly as they can,” he said.

President Nkurunziza lauded the work done by police and military forces, intelligence services as well as the public in containing insecurity in the country.

Nkurunziza revealed he recently signed a decree guiding the disarmament process, and giving a month to those with weapons to submit them.

“Whoever will be caught with an illegal weapon after the expiration date will face legal action; a 2 to 10 year prison sentence and a fine ranging from 100,000 to 5 million Burundi Francs,” he disclosed.

President Pierre Nkurunziza warned the public that the police and the military are well trained and equipped with modern equipment to detect any weapon wherever it might be.

Regional leaders and the international community have called on the government to disarm the militias especially Imbonerakure youth affiliated with the president’s ruling party CNDD-FDD, and recent security operations have recovered dozens of weapons and ammunition but critics say Imbonerakure youths are still armed.

The president regretted that some of the security personnel have been involved in the criminal acts but vowed to hunt them down until they are defeated.

“Investigation reports have proved that some of the security forces whose duty is to secure the country were caught red-handed in criminal acts like killing people and committing other atrocities. We’re going to fight them like any other criminals,” Nkurunziza said appreciating that many of them have been arrested.

He urged the judiciary to step up expedite prosecutions of anti-third term protesters in Bujumbura and the masterminds of the May13 foiled coup and to free those who were caught up in mass arrests but are innocent.

The newly elected president who won the controversial poll in August urged foreign countries hosting suspects who played a role “destabilizing” the nation to arrest and prosecute them.
President Nkurunziza was sworn-in August 20 and in his inaugural address he promised to restore peace and security throughout the country within two months.

However, situation in the country has been worsened over the last two months instead.

Bomb and grenade explosions and heavy gunfire, and recent targeted killings have created a sense of panic and uncertainty in the population especially amongst residents of the capital Bujumbura.

The international community has been calling on the Bujumbura authorities to sit down with all stakeholders for inclusive dialogue but the government says they will negotiate t negotiate with all the players but those in the diaspora.

In the last few months former allies of President Nkurunziza and ex government officials who had fled the country after opposing the president’s controversial third term have formed an opposition outfit; National Council for the respect of the Arusha Agreement, the Constitution and Rule of Law (CNARED) to fight for change in Burundi.