In an effort to control small arms and light weapons in the country and presumably prevent the menace of armed robbery, the Government of Liberia, through the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LICSA), has been presented with two Couth 2000 Arms Marking Machines (AMMs).
The proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Africa, especially in the West African region and the Mano River Sub-Region, has become an issue of concern for the international community and national stakeholders who have, therefore, been pulling together resources to find a solution to the problem.
The issue of small arms control has also become a global issue, and even developed countries such as the US are grappling with the issue of how to handle small arms.
The arms marking equipment presented to the Ministry of Defense is a donation from some of the government’s development partners, including the Europe Union, Regional Center for Small Arms, and others who have been working tirelessly to ensure that Liberia is free of illegal small arms and light weapons.
This is the beginning of a nationwide exercise by LICSA to mark all weapons of the various security agencies. The exercise will involve the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Liberia National Police (LNP) and extend to other security agencies such as immigration and others. The marking of weapons involves a systematic embossment of unique identification numbers on firearms to make them easily identifiable and therefore controllable.
Giving the welcome and introductory statement at the official turning over ceremony of the donation, LICSA Chairman James Fromoyan urged all relevant security institutions to work along with LICSA to ensure that the equipment is fully utilized.
Mr. Fromoyan said the African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) under its Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons; and the United Nations (UN) through its program of Action on the Curtailment of the proliferation of illicit arms, all call for the proper marking of arms of member states, and there is a need for Liberia to adhere to these conventions.
Fromoyan conveyed “heartfelt” thanks and appreciations to the AU, EU and the RECSA for the donation, stressing that the LICSA would continue to strengthen its partnership with relevant partners in a drive to prevent the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, especially at the “volatile borders”.
EU Ambassador to Liberia, Attilio Pacifici, said Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) represent a major and widespread threat to the security of states, communities and individuals, noting that SALW are the main weapons used in conflicts and armed violence throughout the world.
The EU diplomat indicated that his institution’s policy on SALW is key to and in line with EU Foreign Policy, and in particular, EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). He said that the illicit spread of SALW is feeding internal conflicts seeking the collapse of states, preventing access to resources by groups, and control of drug trafficking.
Ambassador Pacifici said that since 1990, SALW have cost the lives of almost four million people, noting that to tackle this threat, the EU has put forward a combination of means; non-military included. He however stated that Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, remains the area that is most affected by the destabilizing impact of SALW.