JUBA – South Sudan’s Assistant Inspector-General of South Sudan Police Services Monday admitted that some security officers are selling guns to civilians amid calls for the government to carry on an effective disarmament campaign.
Speaking during the opening of a three-day workshop on small arms, Lt. Gen Manyuat stressed the need for tighter controls on guns as part of a comprehensive approach to combat surging gun violence in the country.
“We have been talking about disarming the populations but also we have to control our arms as security organs, of course, some of the department have custody for guns but they are not following the procedures, guns which belong to organized forces have been marked but due to the crisis, these guns are no longer in the hands of these institutions,” Manyuat said.
Manyuat called on organized forces to advocate for the control of firearms in a bid to combat surging gun violence in most parts of the country.
“We need mechanisms and we cannot reach that mechanism unless all elements which are involved including the politicians, police, local government, chiefs and elders to go to the grassroots level and advocate or explain the advantage and disadvantage of small arms and the majority will hand over their guns,” he said.
Christo Simon Fataki, Director for Institutional Development for Regional Centre on Small Arms reaffirmed his organization’s readiness to support the government of South Sudan to control the proliferation of illicit trade in small arms.
“It has been proved that all the weapons that we had in this region are coming from the national stockpiles of the region, the problem is within our national stockpiles, we need to control it and when we control it there will be no proliferation of illicit trade in small arms,” he Simon.
Simon said that weapons have locked the entire region in extreme poverty and a dehumanizing state of underdevelopment.
“They are maimed tortured, rendered homeless, and lost their lives and properties as a result of the conflicts that are fueled by the easier availability of small arms and light weapons and the impacts of small arms and the havoc that they inflicted on societies is glaringly apparent here in South Sudan and our region in general,” h said.
“The often tragic reality for our time is those weapons do fell into the wrong hands with disastrous consequences for the civilian population, who make up the majority of conflict victims,” he added.
In October 2016, A United Nations panel of experts found evidence of “well-established networks” of arms suppliers in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, including from Israel, that are fueling the war in South Sudan.
In a confidential report to the Security Council, the panel described the arms deals that are not recent and involve Israeli and Bulgarian firms.