Burundi collected nearly 14 000 weapons in a nationwide campaign to disarm the civilian population and ensure elections next year will be peaceful, officials said.
The tiny central African country of 8 million people is emerging from more than a decade of civil war that killed 300 000 people.
“The different arms collected from October 19 to 28 include guns, hand grenades, bombs, mines and ammunition,” Leopold Banzubaze, deputy chairman of the national board in charge of disarming the civil population, told reporters.
“The campaign has been successful. We hope that the 2010 election will be held in peace and security,” Banzubaze said.
The national board in charge of disarmament reckons 70 000 weapons have been collected since 2007, out of an estimated 100 000 weapons in the hands of civilians.
President Pierre Nkurunziza had set a one-week deadline for people who possess weapons to hand them in or face severe penalties such as 10 years in prison or a hefty fine.
Those who gave up their weapons voluntarily received building materials such as iron sheets and cement, clothes and mobile phones.
Pic: A pile of guns