The Rwanda National Police has called upon the people to hand in illegal arms which they say that are the reason for the various blasts around the country.
According to police, the liberation war and genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 left grenades, unexploded ordnances (UXO's) and other small arms on the surface of Rwanda.
"These undetonated UXO's and recent series of grenade blasts across the country that have claimed innocent lives including children who played with them are a clear indication that there are still firearms in illegal hands" said the police in a statement.
It's in this regard that Rwanda National Police once again calls on those who are still in possession of arms illegally or who happen to know their whereabouts to hand them over to security organs or local authorities.
As for those who are afraid of being identified, Police has put in place toll free line 112 where they can report the whereabouts of the illegal arms. It has also encouraged them to leave the fire arms in public places where the police can easily access them.
Police urges people to voluntarily hand over illegal weapons as failure to do so may result in penalties ranging from five years in prison to life sentence, a fine or even both.
They added that it is only security organs mandated by the law to possess fire arms. However, security companies are allowed to carry firearms but with express permission from relevant authorities.
Individuals too may seek permission to possess a firearm but that too has to go through proper procedure.
The law stipulates that a person living in Rwanda may request possession of weapon if he can convince beyond reasonable doubt why he or she needs it. They also have to pay up to Frw 500,000 annually for the service. Security companies are liable to pay Frw 100,000 every year.
Rwanda National Police thanks citizens who have continued to voluntarily hand-in weapons to security organs. It continues to encourage those still keeping weapons in their homes to hand them over to Police.
About the author
Gahiji Innocent is the chief political colunist for Newsofrwanda.He grew up in Kampala,Uganda before moving to Rwanda.His column is syndicated to newspapers around the country. He has written columns from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel and South Africa. Gahiji , who has a B.A. degree in English from the University of Illinois, has been a Poynter Media Fellow at Yale University,