According to the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW): in the Great Lakes Region, The Horn of Africa and Bordering states especially in its Articles 5, 6 and 7, much emphasis is drawn on the accountability and control of Small Arms and Light Weapons by member states.
Article 7 high lights three important aspects and these are; Marking, Tracing and Record-keeping of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
In the second paragraph of Article 7, State parties undertake to mark each Small Arm or Light Weapon at the time of import, with a simple marking permitting identification of the country of import and the year of import, and an individual serial number if the small arm or light weapon does not bear one at the time of import so that the source of the small arm or light weapon can be traced.
Marking is important for purposes of identification and therefore facilitates tracing in case of vice. After all the firearms have been marked in the region (which is the dream vision), it will be easy to identify a firearm involved in any crime whether it is a weapon from within or a cross border weapon and the responsible individual or state shall be answerable, however the challenge now is to identify the owner of the weapon or where it came from and this can only be addressed by marking all the firearms.
In the implementation of the above articles, RECSA (The Regional Center on Small Arms) has provided 2 electronic marking machines to each of the member states.
These machines came after a series of trainings to nationals from RECSA member states.
These trainings were held in Kenya and then South Africa respectively, Rwanda as one of the member states sent two officers one from RDF and another from National Police.
At the end of these trainings each of the member states was able to operate, maintain and conduct internal on-job trainings using their own marking equipments.
Rwanda received the first marking machine in November, 2008 and upon official receipt by the Minister of Internal Security on behalf of the Rwandan government, arms marking exercises commenced in Rwanda National Police in December, 2008.
These marking exercises have been going on since then and so far over 1900 firearms have been marked.
As mentioned in the previous article, Rwanda is one of the 12 member states of RECSA and ratified the Nairobi Protocol and Nairobi Declaration for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region, The Horn of Africa and Bordering states thus making them binding legal instruments.
In Rwanda, the Nairobi Protocol was ratified by Presidential Order № 61/01 of 28/12/2004.
In the next series we shall continue to bring to your notice the detailed activities that are ongoing as efforts to curb down the illicit proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
In case you have information related to illegal presence of firearms and/or ammunition;
Please call 112 hotline or 0788311150.
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