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Burundians hand in thousands of weapons

Weapons destruction by MECHEM UNDP project in Alpha Marr.
(Alain Budema/UNDP DRC)

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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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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