MAG is improving security in Rwanda through the destruction and improved management of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and munitions.
The proliferation and misuse of illicit SALW fuels violence, insecurity and instability, directly undermining development of the region.
Stockpiled munitions are stored at various Rwandan Defence Force (RDF) bases around the country, many of which are in close proximity to civilian populations. This increases the risk of illicit proliferation and the potential for civilian casualties in the event of accidental explosion.
Safety and security standards for both the storage and transportation of munitions and weapons are in urgent need of improvement; this is particularly underlined by the recent rise in grenade attacks throughout Rwanda1.
Although committed to SALW and munitions control, Rwandan authorities have identified a lack of financial resources and limited technical capacity as obstacles to the control and management of small arms and munitions.
How MAG is helping
MAG is supporting the Rwanda Defence Force in the destruction – and improved management – of SALW and munitions, in order to improve the country’s security and stability.
Technical assistance is being given to the RDF in the safe destruction of surplus weapons, ordnance and small arms ammunition, as well as stockpile management. As a result of MAG's training, the RDF will be better equipped to deal with Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) incidents and manage stockpiles securely in the future.
Combined with the continuing destruction of weapons and munitions2, this is expected to reduce the risk of SALW-related accidents and fatalities at armouries and storage sites, as well as the risk of accidental explosion of the depots. The potential for the proliferation of illicit SALW is also lessened, as is the potential for violent crime which may result from the looting of insecurely stored weapons.
A total of 31,307 items of SALW and 77.52 tons of surplus munitions have so far been destroyed since MAG’s operations in the country began.
Your donation to MAG helps us to move into current and former conflict zones to clear the remnants of conflict, enabling recovery and assisting the development of affected populations.
The primary beneficiaries are those living in close proximity to the weapons stores and munitions stockpiles where safety and security is improved.
Between August 2010 and August 2011, 90 RDF personnel will receive training in stockpile management (80 staff) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (10 staff) – invaluable for effective future destruction, demolition and stockpile management activities.
The work is also supporting the Rwandan Government in meeting its obligations under the Nairobi Protocol for the prevention, control and reduction of SALW in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa region. This will contribute to improvements in security and long-term post-conflict reconstruction and development, both in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region as a whole.
2 Since MAG’s operations in the country began in November 2008, a total of 31,307 items of SALW and 77.52 tons of surplus munitions have been destroyed.
Find out more
- 'Disarmament in the Congo: Investing in Conflict Prevention' – an International Crisis Group briefing paper [PDF]
- AlertNet country profile: Rwanda
- BBC country profile: Rwanda
- Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor: Rwanda
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MAG thanks the donor to its Rwanda operations: Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, US Department of State.