Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Arms: Light weapons - East Africa an “enormous clandestine market”

300,000 Light weapons have been smuggled in East Africa over the past 10 years. The data is published by the East Africa Action Network (Eeansa), according to which, this traffic has been facilitated by in the region by “embargoes that are too easy to ignore or circumvent by part of neighboring countries.” Presenting the organization’s latest report to the press at the Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala, secretary Richard Mugisha stressed that “absurdly, the border traffic for mango fruit is more controlled than that of firearms.” A situation for which “all governments in East African countries are responsible” and which draws advantages from the lack of Arms Trade Treaty that governs the sale of such items.

“This has allowed countries such as Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to import and export weapons in complete illegality,” Mugisha said, according to whom, “a regional treaty on arms trade is made all the more urgent because of ongoing scenarios of war and insecurity in which there is a higher the risk of human rights violations.” The report reveals that during 2012, the lack of a trade regulation has allowed the sale of weapons to countries like Syria – which imported 167 million dollars worth of air and missile defense systems, along with a million weapons and small caliber weapons; Iran – which bought 57 million dollars worth of weapons between 2007 and 2010, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which bought $124 million worth of weapons between 2000 and 2002.