Civilians across Burundi have handed in thousands of guns, grenades and rounds of ammunition during a 10-day voluntary disarmament campaign.
The deputy head of the national disarmament commission, Leopold Banzubaze, said the campaign had netted 2,482 rifles, 10,429 grenades, 218 bombs, 28 mines and 788,908 bullets. In return, the state handed out goods such as construction materials, furniture, bicycles, farming tools, mobile phones and soap.
Speaking shortly before the campaign’s conclusion, the commission’s head, Gen. Zénon Ndabaneze, said: “If we add the arms collected in the previous disarmament campaigns and the police house-to-house searches, we can say we have so far collected 80,000 arms. Nearly 80 percent of weapons in circulation have been collected.”
Under a decree issued by President Pierre Nkurunziza in August 2009, an amnesty was granted to anyone who surrendered their weapons before the end of October. From now on, possession of arms can lead to hefty fines and jail terms of up to 10 years.
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