Weapons that have been taken out of circulation. The illicit trade in small arms, light weapons and their ammunition destabilises communities, and impacts security and development.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence is funding a project to reduce the life-threatening risk of small arms and light weapons proliferation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Illicit small arms have been identified as “the weapons of choice in civil wars and for terrorism, organised crime and gang warfare”, with “leaking” Government stockpiles a major source of the illegal weapons and munitions in circulation1.
One of the secure weapons containers under construction.
MAG has been working with the military (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo – FARDC) and police (Police Nationale Congolaise – PNC) since 2006 to improve the security of armouries and munitions stockpiles, and help the country to meet its obligations under the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
In collaboration with the FARDC and PNC, we have already destroyed around 128,000 obsolete weapons, and are helping to rehabilitate armouries – through the fitting of locks, doors and weapons racks; installation of secure weapons containers; and safe separation of different types of arms – as well as training military and police armourers.
Currently, MAG operates with the UK Ministry of Defence through the British Embassy in Kinshasa, to rehabilitate armouries and place prefabricated armoury containers at sites in the capital and the eastern cities of Goma and Kisangani.
“The illicit trade in small arms, light weapons and ammunition wreaks havoc everywhere. Mobs terrorising a neighbourhood. Rebels attacking civilians or peacekeepers. Drug lords randomly killing law enforcers or anyone else interfering with their illegal businesses. Bandits hijacking humanitarian aid convoys."
– United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)
Based on the findings of previous assessments of FARDC/PNC weapons storage facilities, four prefabricated armoury containers will be installed, two of which were officially handed over to the authorities by Deputy Head of Mission and current Acting British Ambassador Emily Maltman on 25 July.
As the only non-governmental organisation accredited to carry out this sensitive work, MAG maintains excellent relationships with all actors, from working groups and training of military and police personnel, to working directly with the National Commission for Control of Small Arms and Small Arms (CNC) and the Ministries of Defence and Interior.
1 United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs
10 August 2012
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