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Authorities destroy over 5 000 weapons

2022-07-11  Eveline de Klerk

Authorities destroy over 5 000 weapons

Eveline de Klerk

WALVIS BAY – Weapons linked to murders, robberies as well as other illicit crimes were reduced to ashes on Saturday when the Namibian armed forces destroyed 5 532 firearms and 209 933 ammunition at a shooting range outside Walvis Bay.

Some of these weapons destroyed included those that were voluntarily surrendered during the amnesty period last year.

The destruction of the weapons coincides with the International Gun Destruction Day, adopted by the United Nations, which calls on all states to take significant steps to reduce all forms of violence and related deaths within their countries.

Home affairs minister Albert Kawana on Saturday noted that illicit small arms and light weapons continue to pose a serious threat to Africa’s peace and security. 

“New trafficking channels are being created by criminals, as the security sector in the majority of countries continues to take measures to combat the movement of illicit small arms and light weapons. Africa’s porous borders and overstretched border controls make this situation worse,” he explained. 

He added illicit firearms and ammunition have continued to remain a common feature in most instances, although the causes and factors driving conflicts in the SADC region have changed over the past years. 

“In fact, small arms and light weapons continue to be used as weapons of choice for criminals when they infringe human rights of law-abiding citizens and commit crimes, such as murder, gender-based violence and armed robberies,” a concerned Kawana said.

He added that SADC, to address these challenges at regional level, adopted the Protocol on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and other related materials in 2001. 

In addition, member states also developed and promoted small arms control instruments, best practice guides, and mechanisms to enable cooperation to prevent, detect and address the illicit proliferation of small arms.

Kawana noted it is a daunting task, and member states are facing many challenges, such as limited capacities, particularly in the area of technical personnel. 

“However, capacity-building efforts and programmes continue to improve with the support of critical stakeholders, such as Interpol. Hence, today, we accomplish another milestone – the destruction of firearms and ammunition – in order to create a safer society. The last time we witnessed a similar activity of this nature was in 2007 when more than 9 000 firearms were destroyed. Today, Namibia destroyed 5 532 firearms and 209 933 ammunition.”

Also speaking at the illicit weapon destruction, Erongo governor Neville Andre said illegal weapons remain hugely problematic in society.  

“While we place a lot of emphasis on illegal or unlawfully possessed firearms, we must also bear in mind that violence is also committed with lawfully owned firearms, albeit on a lesser scale,” he said.


2022-07-11  Eveline de Klerk

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