Nairobi – Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, has set a Nov. 7 deadline for those with illegal firearms to hand them over or risk being “dealt with as enemies of the nation”.
Nkurunziza’s announcement came after months of protests over his re-election in July and a failed coup attempt.
Burundi, which emerged from civil war a decade ago, was thrown into turmoil over Nkurunziza’s plan to seek a third term in office, which many of his critics said was unconstitutional.
The bid, which he ultimately won in a disputed vote, plunged the country into crisis, including violent clashes between protesters and security forces in the capital, Bujumbura and a series of targeted killings.
In Monday’s address to the nation, Nkurunziza said people had five days to voluntarily give up their guns.
“Those who will not do so will be taken as criminals and be prosecuted according to the anti-terrorism law and be dealt with as enemies of the nation.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
‘’This is the last call we are making,” Nkurunziza warned.
He, however, said that individuals who complied with the directive would “be trained on patriotic education” and returned to their families, while urging the police to restore peace and security across Bujumbura within a month.
“In addition, you are allowed to use all the necessary means and authorised rules and regulations in security matters,” he said.
Reacting to the development, experts say “tit-for-tat” assassinations of government officials and members of the opposition risk driving the nation back into another conflict and could reopen old ethnic wounds (Reuters/NAN)