In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on July 9th, MAG joined organisations across four continents to celebrate International Gun Destruction Day with a “millionth weapon destruction” event, symbolising one million arms destroyed across the globe in US government funded programmes.
At the ceremony, held at the FARDC Central Logistics Base in Kinshasa, more than 100 government, military, UN and NGO representatives witnessed the cutting of surplus weaponry using hydraulic shears utilised by MAG’s Small Arms Light Weapons (SALW) project in DRC.
The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, U.S. Department of State has provided $1,185,300 to fund the SALW project in DRC, which is complemented by more than $250,000 from the Canadian Government Global Peace and Security fund. The aim of the SALW project is to destroy surplus weapons and ammunition, while building national capacity, which contributes to post-conflict recovery.
The SALW programme commenced in September 2006 with the recruitment, training and equipping of teams. Since then more than 70 tonnes of ammunition and, since May 2007, 28,000 weapons have been destroyed thanks to this pioneering initiative between the National Armed Forces (FARDC), the UN Mission (MONUC) and MAG assisting peace-building in a country which endured decades of conflict.
|His Excellency Ambassador Meece, |
|Kim Girtel (Counsellor and Consul, Canadian Embassy), Ambassador Meece, General Mukalay, Daniel Sissling |
(MAG DRC Country Programme Manager), Marc Angibeaud,
(MAG DRC Technical Operations Manager SALW Program)
The July 9th ceremony provided the opportunity to highlight the contribution of the international community, and the commitment of the national civilian and military authorities to the destruction of stockpiles and surplus weapons in DRC. His Excellency Mr. Roger Allen Meece, Ambassador of the United States Embassy and General Mukalay, Commanding Officer of the FARDC Central Logistics Base, were guest speakers at the event, and voiced their support for continued efforts to reduce the number of surplus weapons, and to increase security within the region.
During the ceremony, the Technical Operations Manager of MAG’s SALW Program in DRC, Marc Angibeaud, escorted guests to two military warehouses storing stockpiles of surplus weaponry, which will be destroyed through MAG’s SALW project. Demonstrating the quantity of work which remains, Mr. Angibeaud emphasised that “this will be a long and difficult process, which requires the determination of all actors to reach our shared goal over the next five years”. In coordination with international and national stakeholders, MAG’s SALW Program will systematically target military stockpiles for destruction throughout DRC with the aim of completion by 2012, thereby contributing to the ongoing process of Security Sector Reform.