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Since independence from Belgium in 1962, Burundi has experienced violence, armed conflicts, two genocides, and coups d’état.1 From 1993 to 2003, the country was affected by a civil war that caused the deaths of 300,000 people and displaced about a fifth of the country’s population. One of the major consequences of the war has been a massive proliferation of firearms amongst civilians.2

Since 2007, the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) has been supporting Burundi in the reduction of the threat posed by SALW and unsecured stockpiles.3 In 2009, the national law governing the system for SALW was adopted. The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States (RECSA) provide the country with the financial and technical assistance on secure management of weapons and ammunition.4 The project on weapon and ammunition management (WAM) training is currently being implemented by RECSA5.

US Department of State (2020, June 19): US Relations with Burundi Bilateral Relations Fact Sheet.

2 Pézard, Stéphanie and Nicolas Florquin (2007): Small Arms in Burundi Disarming the Civilian Population in Peacetime. Small Arms Survey, Graduate Institute of International Studies.

3 MAG (2009, July): MAG CWMD Global Update.

4 PoA Report 2022, Burundi.

5 GICHD (2022): Ammunition Management Activity Platform.

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Map of Burundi

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the beginning of data collection in 1979 by the Small Arms Survey, no accidental explosions were reported in Burundi.

Source: Small Arms Survey (December 2021): Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS). Database.

Cases of diversion

Numerous cases of diversion have been reported in Burundi (Table 1).

Table 1. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition, and explosives in Burundi





South African army base in Burundi

A number of guns, ammunition and bombs, including 40 mortar bombs, 54 R-4 rifles, four R-5 rifles, a sniper rifle, two 12-gauge shotguns, eight machineguns, eight pistols, and 27 grenade launchers were stolen.

Sources: Maughan, Karyn (2006, October 31): Burundi Bungle Leaves SANDF Chiefs Red-faced. IOL News.


By 2012, 97 tonnes of ammunition had been destroyed in collaboration with MAG.

Source: GICHD (2012, September): Mines Advisory Group’s Physical Security and Stockpile Management Programme Burundi Case Study.


To further enhance safe and secure ammunition management, the following need has been identified for Burundi:

  • Capacity development for the destruction of surplus stockpiles, in particular – technical and financial assistance.

Source: PoA Report 2022, Burundi.

Published Date: Monday 3 of April 2023