Friday, June 03, 2016

Burundi’s Armed Opposition Given 15 Days to Surrender
03 June 2016 at 12:32pm
By ANA Reporter

Bujumbura - Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza has offered a pardon to armed groups in the country’s southern provinces of Bururi, Mwaro, Bujumbura and Rumonge provinces if they surrender within 15 days.

He announced this on Wednesday after meeting in Mugamba commune, Bururi province, with security force officers, senior government officials and parliamentarians from all four provinces.

Mugamba has been at the centre of increased attacks and assassinations of government supporters by armed groups in the southern provinces this year. The violence erupted after the failed military coup attempt against Nkurunziza in May 2015.

Bururi provincial governor Christian Nkurunziza said eleven people had been killed “by those troublemakers” since January this year, while “36 criminals were also killed by security forces and 14 assault weapons and 20 bombs were seized”.

Nkurunziza gave the groups an ultimatum to surrender to security forces withing 15 days from Wednesday June 1. If not, security forces would neutralise them with full force, he said.

Nkurunziza added that the Burundi government did not want to hear about armed groups causing insecurity in the region any longer. Burundians had worked hard to attain peace and stability through the Arusha Peace Agreement, through which the Burundi army was reformed by including all ethnic groups, he pointed out.

“All those who will surrender and allow themselves to be caught by security forces will be received with open arms. Please, do as your brothers in Bujumbura did,” he said, referring to a similar amnesty programme in the capital.

“If you come to your senses, we will integrate you in the profession centres as we did your brothers who recently disturbed security in the capital Bujumbura.”

The profession centres help demobilised rebels find normal work.

The Mugamba region and Mwaro province are reputed to host concentrations of Burundi’s minority Tutsi people.

They were the location of a major protest movement against Nkurunziza running for a third term in 2015, despite the two-term limits written into the constitution and the Arusha peace agreements which he himself quoted on Wednesday.

Sources in these regions describe a number of arrests, mostly of youths and some secondary and high schools teachers who the government suspects of complicity with armed groups.

– African News Agency

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