1.3m illicit arms circulating in Ghana

97418933.295Over 1.3 million weapons believed to have been smuggled into Ghana are not registered, according to preliminary investigations conducted by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center.

Chairman of the commission on small arms and light weapons, Brigadier General Francis Agyemfra is concerned about the security of the state and wants measures in place to retrieve the weapons.

“We are very much concerned about the spread of illicit arms and their possible impact on our democracy especially those that could be triggered by violence,” Brigadier Gen Francis Agyemfra (RTD) said.

Executive Secretary of the Small Arms Commission, Jones Aplerh, says the finding by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre is worrying.

“As at 2004 the number of illicit weapons was around 240,000”, said Mr Aplerh, stressing the recent figures is cause for concern.

He however, explained that the methodology used by the Kofi Annan centre could have well overblown the current situation.

He said the Kofi Annan centre made its assessment of the number of small arms weapons based on civilian weapons that we have licensed on the database of the Small Arms Commission.

He said current number of registered civilian arms stood at 1.2 million.

“It may give a clear picture, or it may even more than [the 1.3 million figure] or less than that,” he said about the figure quoted by the report.

According to Mr Aplerh, the number of weapons in the country should not be the source of concern.

“What we need to worry about is the demand-driven factors; the long-standing land and cheiftaincy issues”, he pointed out.

He said government agencies and other stakeholders must work together to settle desputes in violence hotspots.

source: ghanaweb.com

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