Burundian government to disarm hundreds of thousands of civilians before 2010 elections


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Burundian government to disarm hundreds of thousands of civilians before 2010 elections

Between 100,000 and 250,000 small and light weapons are currently in the hands of civilians in Burundi, the country’s first Vice-President, in charge of political, security and administrative affairs, Yves Sahinguvu, said Wednesday. He said it was worrisome that this large number of weapons were in unauthorised hands and attributed the situation to the difficulty in getting the country’s 14 years of civil war to an end. He announced a series of hard measures aimed at taking the arms away from civilians in an effort to guarantee order and peace in the society. The measures include the setting up of a new national commission to disarm civilians. The Burundian government would allocate an annual budget of 300 million Burundian francs (nearly US$ 300,000) to the new commission. A new law aimed at regulating the possession of weapons was passed recently to replace the obsolete one which dated back to the 1970s. Sahinguvu said with the new arrangements in place, Burundians would be able to hold elections in 2010.

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