Gov’t steps up war against illegal arms

In a bid to implement the international declarations and protocols that call upon states to adopt measures to fight against the proliferation of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), Rwanda on Wednesday officially launched its National Action Plan (NAP). The five-year plan will see national focal points formed, mass mobilisation and campaigns conducted and cross-border cooperation reinforced to effectively control and prevent illegal arms trade in the region.
An arms marking exercise in Rwanda. The new action plan will ensure that illicit arms are tightly monitored. The New Times / File.
An arms marking exercise in Rwanda. The new action plan will ensure that illicit arms are tightly monitored. The New Times / File.

In a bid to implement the international declarations and protocols that call upon states to adopt measures to fight against the proliferation of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), Rwanda on Wednesday officially launched its National Action Plan (NAP).

The five-year plan will see national focal points formed, mass mobilisation and campaigns conducted and cross-border cooperation reinforced to effectively control and prevent illegal arms trade in the region.

The plan which is under the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA), is part of the implementation of the 2004 Nairobi Protocol which calls upon RECSA member states to adopt measures to prevent, control and reduce SALW within the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and bordering states.

Rwanda is among the few countries that have implemented the protocol and other declarations, which have seen laws relating to arms adopted, conducting of disarmament operations as well as destruction of illicit arms.

The country’s commitment to implement the protocol and hitting a record in the destruction of illicit arms, its outstanding role in peacekeeping efforts on the continent, and consistency in honouring its annual financial obligations to RECSA, saw her nominated to spearhead a regional campaign against illicit small arms and light weapons.

Over 32, 000 illicit SALW and over 100 tonnes of ammunitions have been destroyed since 2006.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Stanley Nsabimana, who presided over the launch, observed that the availability of illicit arms in the hands of wrong hands remains a major cause of insecurity in the region.

He urged the participants to adopt strong measures to help to effectively deal with the practice.

Ambassador Tharcisse Midonzi, the Deputy Executive Secretary of RECSA, commended Rwanda for her commitment to address the problem of SALW.

“The plan will boost the ongoing disarmament efforts in the country following the enactment of a new small arms and light weapons legislation, and it will in turn reduce the number of weapons illegally circulating among civilians,” Midonzi noted.

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