KIGALI - Rwanda National Police (RNP) will today train nine police and army officers on how to mark firearms using a new electronic machine ahead of a general exercise that will see all government owned firearms marked.
The head of RNP’s Firearms Registry, Chief Supt. Joel Ndahiro during a press briefing ahead of the exercise stressed that, “Marking of firearms will assist in tracing the movement of arms across national boundaries and provide necessary information to minimise proliferation of small arms and control crime in the region.”
The two-day training starts today at police headquarters in Kacyiru. The state-of-the-art- MC 2000 electronic marking machine will soon be handed over to Rwanda by the Nairobi-based Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA).
According to RNP, RECSA availed the machines as part of joint efforts to prevent and eradicate trafficking and proliferation of illicit arms in the region.
The machine which will help the Rwanda police in its ongoing arms registration process, will be handed over to the government of Rwanda by the Executive Secretary of RECSA, Dr. Francis K. Sang.
Police sources said that a second machine of the same kind will be provided to the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) next year under the same arrangement.
RECSA is an inter-governmental organisation rallying twelve countries in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa aimed at ending regional conflict through disarmament.
A senior advisor to Rwanda National Focal Point on small arms and light weapons (RNFP), Isaïe Bagabo, said that many people in the country continue to keep arms illegally and the government wants to enforce disarmament mechanisms through registering all government-owned arms and enacting a new legislation on arms.
“Rwanda is among the countries internationally known to be safe, but the problem of illicit arms here is still alarming,” he told a press conference yesterday at Serena Hotel in Kigali.
He said the new Rwandan arms legislation is expected to be enacted early next year and it will ensure that whoever owns a firearm is registered and follows ‘strict’ requirements detailed in the law.
Ndahiro said that among the people suspected to be still holding firearms include Ex-FAR combatants and former members of the Interahamwe militia, some demobilised soldiers, and some officials who still keep them claiming insecurity in regions where they work.
He said that his office will register and mark all firearms in the country except those in hands of the army. He estimated that at least 90 percent of arms controlled by RNP can be traced while only 3 per cent of them have been marked.
Sources close to RECSA revealed that the process of registering and marking arms is expected to take place in all member countries of the organisation.