KIGALI - The East African Community (EAC) partner states have received equipment worth 270, 000 Euros to control proliferation of illegal small arms in the region.
The equipment was procured through the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) component of the Conflict Prevention and Management Resolution programme funded by the European Union (EU).
While handing over the equipment in Arusha, Tanzania to different partner states, on Tuesday, the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, Hafsa Mossi was upbeat that this would facilitate meeting the deadline of December 2011, set to complete the arms marking exercise in the region.
The deadline was set by the EAC Council of Ministers.
Mossi, who is also the Burundian Minister for EAC affairs, called for the optimal use of the equipment, saying this would lead to a safe and peaceful East Africa, making the region attractive to investors, therefore, spurring economic development.
EU representative Enrico Strampelli, said that the support to EAC, meant to build capacity of the National Focal Points, is one of many activities that reflect the EU’s commitment to the Africa-EU partnership on peace and security.
Strampelli commended the EAC for its regional efforts on small arms control, noting that small arms trafficking cannot be fully controlled by individual countries.
He said illicit trade and trafficking is nourished by discrepancies in legal regimes and porous borders.
The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Beatrice Kiraso added that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons is one of the biggest security challenges currently facing the East African countries.
She particularly highlighted threats resulting from neighbouring countries in conflict situations.
All EAC partner states are parties to the UN tracing instrument, which requires countries to undertake marking of all state-owned and licensed arms to enhance traceability and strengthen stockpile management.