BUJUMBURA, July 4, 2017 - Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza (Front L) attends the celebration to mark 55th anniversary of independence in Bujumbura, capital city of Burundi, on July 1, 2017.. Image Source: Xinhua/Evrard Ngendakumana/IANS

Bujumbura, Jan 1 : Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has pardoned over 2,000 inmates and called on the citizens to be more patriotic.

"Over 2,000 inmates are going to be released from various prisons in 2018. We urge them to avoid committing again offences that may return them to prison," said Nkurunziza in a new year message to the nation on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The presidential pardon comes in the context of consolidating peace and cohesion in the central African nation, said the President, adding that the pardon targets pregnant and breastfeeding inmates and those whose jail term is less than five years and.

Inmates with physical disabilities and those who have spent half of their jail term will also be pardoned, he said.

At least 2,576 inmates had benefited from the presidential pardon in 2017, according to him.

He also urged Burundian citizens to financially contribute to the country's 2020 elections and to massively participate in the referendum of the national constitution to be held in May 2018.

Nkurunziza also said Burundi's energy crisis has been solved by the use of thermal energy of 30 megawatts, adding that the construction of hydropower dams is underway to produce more energy.

Plans for 2018 include consolidating peace and security, fighting terrorism and continuing the repatriation of Burundian citizens living in exile, he further said.

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