The first registration and marking of civilian arms in West Darfur officially began on 30 January 2013. Over the course of the next six months, the Government of Sudan expects to register approximately 30,000 arms. The initiative is designed to curb the proliferation of arms and reduce violence in the area.
The two-day event in El Geneina, organized by the Ministry of Interior, the Sudan Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (SDDRC) and the Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC), brought together nearly 200 participants from governmental bodies, the diplomatic community, native administration unions, and non-governmental organizations, aimed at mobilizing the population of the region to support the registration and marking of small arms and light weapons.
In a symbolic gesture, ten local leaders, each representing a different tribe, were among the first to register arms. Despite the process of registering and marking being voluntary, all arms not licensed after six months - subject to extension - will be considered illegal.
For the program to be successful it requires the leadership of the native administration, as well as the involvement of different social groups, especially youth and women, through a participative "bottom up" approach.
The inauguration ceremony, presided over by Sudanese Interior Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamed and West Darfur Governor (Wali) Hayder Galoucome, followed an intensive one-day workshop, aimed to sensitize international, national and regional stakeholders on the arms registration initiative and to enhance their coordination to ensure a successful program.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) provided support to the SDDRC event through the provision of technical and logistical support.