The Chief of Staff of the Rwanda Defence Forces, Lt Gen Caesar Kayizari, has emphasised the force’s commitment to the safety of all Rwandans at all times by ensuring that illicit arms trade is eliminated in the region.
He made the remarks while officiating at the destruction of 40 tonnes of unexploded ordinance and waste ammunition at Gabiro Military Academy.
“The destruction of these weapons is proof of our commitment to ensure the safety of our people. If these ammunition was left unattended, they could claim many lives,” said Kayizari.
He added that the RDF is committed to fulfilling its moral obligation to highlight the urgency of destroying such weapons.
“You are aware that these ammunitions have a market value outside Rwanda, but we are not interested in that market and we will do all it takes to fight that market,” he said.
Since January 2009, over 16,000 small arms have been destroyed by shredding them into small pieces.
With the partnership of Regional Center for Small Arms (RECSA), Rwanda has also destroyed 111,760 tons of explosives and waste ammunition carried out in three phases.
The exercise to obliterate 40 tonnes of unexploded ordinance and waste ammunition is the fourth phase and it will last four days. The RDF will use non-electronic detonation methods to blow up the bombs.
Safety measures have been upheld including environmental protection plans.
The destruction was witnessed by several members of the diplomatic corps and the Governor of Eastern Province, Dr. Aisa Kirabo
According to the National RECSA representative, Emmanuel Misingo, Rwanda’s commitment to ensuring regional safety is signalled in its initiatives like destruction of waste ammunition.
“Rwanda is a signatory to the Nairobi and Bamako protocols that ensure elimination of illicit arms. The country has perfectly implemented its obligations,” said Misingo.
He added that as a requirement, Rwanda has enacted several laws and decrees for the proper management of small arms and ammunitions.
In 2009, Rwanda enacted the law on management of small arms while in May this year, President Paul Kagame signed the Presidential Decree on management of small arms.illegal arms trade