Proliferation of Arms Threatening Peace Across Borders in Africa

The Accra Daily Mail Proliferation of small arms and trafficking of light weapons across boarders in Africa pose a serious threat to the security and peace of the continent, Ghana’s Minister of the Interior, Mr Martin Amidu, has observed.

The situation, he said, called for closer collaboration among African leaders to implement far reaching border management strategies to combat and eradicate the illicit trade.

Opening the Third Regional Civil Society Forum on peace and security in West Africa in Accra yesterday, Mr Amidu said small arms and light weapons were easily trafficked across borders, hence the need for a concerted effort to check the situation, otherwise the security and peace of the continent could be compromised.

The programme, which was organised by the West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA), was attended by participants from the African sub-region.

The participants were expected to share experiences on the issues relating to small arms, and their proliferation and control.

Declaring the commitment of the government to fighting the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, Mr Amidu said the Mills’s administration ratified the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms in March 5, this year and the United Nations Convention on Cluster of Munitions on August 3, 2010.

He said the government had also begun the process to give legal backing to the National Peace Council to play its national role of conflict resolution and peace building more effectively and efficiently.

Mr. Amidu said peace and security was the business of all and sundry and to ensure that it was attained in the sub-region all hands should be on deck.

The Chairman of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Lt Col. S. Ohene-Asare (retd), pledged the Commission’s support and readiness to collaborate with civil society organisations in any way possible.

The President of WAANSA, Mr Baffour Dokyi Amoa, observed that the incidence and growth in armed robbery, drug trafficking, and human trafficking were fuelling armed violence, which, no doubt, was retarding development in the region.

He expressed the hope that the participants would come up with forward-looking strategies to lead them on their journey towards sustained peace in their region.

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