Police call for more reporting on arms proliferation
The Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) in collaboration with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and national police yesterday met the media in order to assess its role in creating awareness towards fighting illicit trafficking and proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the country.
“We want to raise media’s awareness on issues of peace, security and small arms; international and regional instruments; and the status of implementation of the Nairobi protocols on prevention, control and reduction of SALW in the Great Lakes region, the horn of Africa and bordering states,” said William Oduk, the in-charge of trainings at RECSA.
“Small arms in wrong hands are a threat to peace and security of our region; we are engaging the media because we know they can foster peace more than any other institution. Who can change the population more than the media?”, stressed Oduk.
According to the Rwanda National Focal Point (RNFP/SALW) coordinator, assistant chief of police Sam Karemera, programs like joint security management of common borders and disarmament demobilization and repatriation of mutineers in eastern DRC are some of the ways Rwanda uses to get rid of illegal use of small arms.
However, Karemera said, the quantity of non-exploded arms is still unknown. “Because uncontrolled trade of SALW in some countries, different legal regimes, regional instability, and porous borders where illicit trafficking can be easy, we cannot assure that we are 100% safe. We have chosen the media to engage us for the noble cause ‘fighting small arms and light weapons’ propagation and having our countries free-from arms in wrong hands.
RECSA’s official commended Rwandan community policing program since it is the central point in the fight against small arms. “We Africans don’t manufacture arms, but they affect us much more. We have to find home-grown solutions like community policing to solve our security matters within our societies.”
For that reason, RECSA and RNFP are going to establish a direct line of contact for media to sources of information on small arms.
They are planning to create a pool of journalists that is better informed on the UN program of action on small arms, the Nairobi protocol and ongoing efforts to address the issue. “We want increased reporting on small arms and security issues,” said ACP Sam Karemera.
In Rwanda, between 2005 & 2006, more than 7,000 ammunitions were publicly destroyed, and a total of destroyed small arms were 25,141 by mid-October 2009 and the disposal is still ongoing.