Rwanda was, on Tuesday, elected to spearhead a regional campaign against illicit small arms and light weapons.
The country was picked by delegates attending a ministerial council meeting of the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA), a grouping of 15 eastern and central African countries, dedicated to eradicating the proliferation of illegal arms across their borders.
The meeting was held in the Horn of African nation of Djibouti.
Rwanda was elected on the basis of its impressive record in destroying illegal arms, its outstanding role in peacekeeping efforts on the continent, and consistence in honouring in annual financial obligations to the regional body, Internal Security Minister, Sheikh Musa Fazil Harelimana, said yesterday.
Harelimana ,who will lead the campaign for the next two years, said that Kigali will look to encourage all member states to consolidate efforts to eradicate illegal arms and ammunitions.
He said particular attention will be newcomers DRC and South Sudan.
“We will embark on an aggressive sensitization campaign to solve the problem posed by these destructive objects across our region,” said the minister.
DRC was the next in line to take up the chairmanship, following Djibouti’s turn, and by choosing Rwanda, the delegates broke a previously agreed upon alphabetical order used to decide the next to lead the crusade.
Since 2006, Kigali has destroyed more than 32,000 illicit small arms and light weapons, Harelimana said.
Each member is required to contribute US$ 70,000 annually towards the running of the RESCA secretariat, based in Nairobi.
The national coordinator of small arms, Emmanuel Misingo, represented Rwanda in the Djibouti meeting.