The Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LINCSA) in continuation of its buildup to respond to the menace of small arms and light weapons to regional peace, security and development, has conducted a three-day Training of Trainers (TOT) at the Justice and Security Regional Hub in Bong County September 20 to October 2.
Funded by the European Union, and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the training, under the ECOWAS EU Small Arms Project, “Voluntary Arms Collection for Development,” was designed to improve the skills and knowledge of personnel of national security institutions on the security of arms and ammunitions and the management of arms stockpile and their storage facilities.
The Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, Peter Zaizay cautioned the trainees against the misuse of their authority as security personnel carrying arms. “You are under oath to provide protection for civilians and to the State, avoid arbitrary use of small arms and light weapons,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Zaizay reminded the trainees that they have a responsibility to ensure that the Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures on the management of weapons and small arms are adhered to in all circumstances.
He told the trainees to use the exercise as an opportunity to learn more especially from other colleagues to effectively conduct their affairs as mandated by law.
The EU ECOWAS Cluster Coordinator, Lacina Barro, stressed that continuous training of security agencies and institutions remains paramount in arms collection, management, record keeping and destruction.
“Participating officers are to pay keen attention to these sessions to ensure that at the end of the training, you are better prepared and ready to manage the requirements associated with arms collection, record keeping, management and destruction to increase community security and development in Liberia,” intimated Barro.
The 19 trainees, including three women, were drawn from security institutions like the Armed Forces of Liberia, Liberia National Police, Bureau of Immigration, National Security Agency, and Executive Protection Service.
With the imminent drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the TOT is to help ensure that security institutions are prepared for the transition and gain full autonomy in the management of arms collection operations.
Facilitators from military and paramilitary security institutions, including Armed Forces of Liberia, the United States Army, UN Mission in Liberia, discussed topics including community policing, handling of firearms and weapons, weapons collection techniques; persuasion of locals to turn over weapons; transport and storage, and arms destruction.
Selected officers are to pass on acquired knowledge and techniques to their peers, particularly in the collection, handling, transport, storage and destruction of weapons and explosive ammunitions.