3 March 2012

Rwanda: Regional Cooperation Key to Fight Against Illicit Arms

Rwanda has made tremendous progress in the fight against the proliferation of small arms.

So far, over 32,000 illegal arms have been destroyed since 2008. Last year, 40 tonnes of ammunition was destroyed at the Gabiro military barracks; all small arms in the hands of the police, the armed forces and private security companies have been given serial numbers by the newly acquired firearms marking machine.

In 2007, Rwanda established the Central Firearms Registry to control, manage and monitor the use of firearms.

These steps are essential to the security of Rwandans. Keeping illicit small arms from the hands of criminals, who would use these guns to rob, murder and terrorise residents is crucial. And thankfully these steps have worked; gun deaths are the lowest in East Africa.

One of Rwanda's challenges in eliminating the fire arms is the fact that small arms trade and movement is cross border. While 300,000 illegal arms have been surrendered and destroyed, there are estimated to be 500,000 illicit arms in just the East African region. If we throw in Somali and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the number increases.

That is why it is important that East African countries cooperate to control the flow arms within the region. Insecurity in one country can have a bearing on the region.

Copyright © 2012 The New Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.