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Former MP Barikana arrested over  over illegal firearms

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Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has in custody Eugene Barikana, a former lawmaker, who was detained on May 11 over illegal possession of firearms.

He was found in possession of one grenade and a magazine of an AK47 submachine gun, according to RIB.

A RIB statement indicates that he was arrested after resigning from his parliamentary duties. Barikana who, as noted, is held at the RIB station in Remera, in Kigali, faces up to two years in prison if eventually found guilty in a court of law.

Investigations are underway to establish how he acquired the arms, and why he illegally possessed them, RIB noted, warning the public against illegal possession of arms.

Balikana has been an MP since 2013 and before then he served as the Director of Cabinet in the Office of the Prime Minister. He also previously served as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government.

Prior to that, he served in different capacities mainly in local government where among others he worked as the prefect of Kibungo Prefecture currently part of Eastern Province.

What the law says

Article 70 of the 2018 law relating to arms clarifies everything related to possessing an arm, alteration of its marks, importing, transporting, selling, manufacturing or distribution of arms or their parts and components.

It states that any person who illegally possesses an arm or alters its identification marks in any manner whatsoever commits an offence.

Upon conviction, he or she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not more than two years and a fine of not less than Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf2 million or only one of these penalties.

Any person who illegally and in anyway imports, transports, sells, manufactures or distributes arms or their parts and components commits an offence too.

Upon conviction, he or she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 years and not more than 15 years and a fine of not less than Rwf5 million and not more than Rwf10 million.

If the offences are committed at international level, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than 15 years and not more than 20 years and a fine not less than Rwf15 million and not more than Rwf20 million.

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