UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
BURUNDI: CNDD-FDD against method of civilian disarmament
BUJUMBURA, 13 May 2005 (IRIN) - Burundi's former main rebel movement, the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie-Forces pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD), is against the way a national programme aimed at disarming civilians is being carried out, an official said on Friday.
"We need to associate all the partners involved in the process and, secondly, it has to be done under the supervision of the UN Mission in Burundi," Ramadhan Karenga, the CNDD-FDD spokesman, said.
He was reacting to the launch, on Monday, of the civilian disarmament campaign at Gishubi, in the central province of Gitega, by President Domitien Ndayizeye. Since the launch, government ministers have been touring the country's provinces to explain the disarmament process.
However, no guns have been handed over to the authorities since the programme began.
Karenga said the disarmament campaign would be a total fiasco if it was not held "progressively" or the holders of the weapons not provided with incentives.
Karenga said those in possession of guns, particularly youth peacekeepers known as "guardians de la paix" who were armed by the government, would need incentives to hand them over.
"As far as we know, the government is not able to raise funds to pay or give incentives to those people," he said.
He said civilian disarmament was clearly spelt out in a ceasefire and power-sharing agreement that the CNDD-FDD and the transitional government signed in November 2003. The deal states that disarmament of the civilians and militias would be done in accordance with the agreement under UN supervision.
In the commune of Rumonge in the southern province of Bururi, some 2,000 people who enrolled 10 years ago as "youth peacekeepers" told a meeting of local administration officials last week that they would only hand over their guns if they were given demobilisation money. They threatened to join the remaining active rebel group, the Forces nationales de liberation (FNL) led by Agathon Rwasa.
Ndayizeye signed a decree on 3 May; setting up a national commission in charge of the disarmament of civilians, saying the move would create favourable conditions for the organisation of general elections.
However, Karenga said many countries, including Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Liberia, had organised elections before the disarmament of civilians.
Thousands of guns have been in circulation in the country since civil war broke out in 1993. Such guns have contributed to increased banditry.
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