Citation(s) from the literature library

Rackley, Edward B. 2005 ‘Artisan Rifles or 'Mugobore'.’ The Impact of Small Arms and Armed Violence on Women; Annex I, p. 24. Brussels: Groupe de Recherche et d'Information sur la Paix et la Sécurité / GRIP and United Nations Development Programme / UNDP. 1 March

Relevant contents

Artisan Rifles or 'Mugobore'

Mugobore are artisan rifles first developed by a Tanzanian paramilitary force called the Basungusungu, who patrolled their border with Burundi against illegal trafficking. When rebel movements began in 1994, they depended on their rural support base to supply them with weapons. Industry-grade weapons were scarce and expensive, so most attackers used machetes, the preferred weapon of Rwanda's genocidaires.

Rural farmers began fabricating mugobore to supply the rebels. Mugobore fabrication spread into Burundi's rural regions. They are now the preferred weapons of certain civil defence groups and particularly rural bandits operating in the war's margins, preying on fellow civilians…

In Ruyigi province, women claimed that mugobore often result in misfire accidents in the home. Gunshot victims, we were told, do not go to hospital for treatment, for a number of reasons.

Receiving qualified medical treatment requires that they lie about the cause of accident, out of fear of legal repercussions or police investigation relating to illegal gun possession. Accusations of rebel involvement were common during the war, and could result in loss of life. Official gunshot statistics, like those for rape, are well below actual figures because victims believe these incidents must remain clandestine.

Mugobore production and use will be difficult to eliminate for two reasons. First, mugobore production, although illegal, is a widespread and well-known craft: civilian disarmament programs can recover the guns but not the knowledge. In terms of armed violence and civilian insecurity, mugobore fabrication is a veritable Pandora's box.

Second, mugobore use is no longer war-related, but is now driven purely by economic necessity. Mugobore are bought and sold (approx. 10$ per unit) but are more lucrative as a tool for bandits and thieves. Recovering the weapons themselves is therefore senseless without a credible and effective socio-economic component: training in income generating activities can be effectively leveraged to interest mugobore users (currently synonymous with 'bandits' for many Burundians) in pursuing non-violent economic livelihoods.

ID: Q5460

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