1,194 seized weapons destroyed in Sekondi

The National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons has destroyed a total of 1,194 seized weapons.

The confiscated weapons were destroyed at the Sekondi Prisons Park in the Western Region.

They were confiscated in the Western and Western North regions.

The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Jones Borteye Applerh, revealed that about 89.5% of the weapons seized were foreign-made.

He noted that the commission was committed to aggressively eradicating the possession of illicit weapons in the country, especially for the elections.

“What we are doing today is to let the public know that our security agencies understand the implications of weapon proliferation. And so when they get the weapons, they seize them.

Mr. Applerh also appealed to the public to volunteer information on criminal activities in order to aid security agencies to act swiftly.

“They should be encouraged to be vigilant and volunteer information on criminal activities to security agencies timeously for swift intervention in order to maintain the peace and security that we enjoy in this beautiful country,” he said.

On her part, the Deputy Western Regional Minister, Gifty Eugenia Kusi, said security and peace was a two-way street; hence citizens must also commit to peace, as the government makes its bid to protect the citizenry.

She said, “the proliferation and misuse of small arms lead to decreasing human safety and security.”

“That is why the government has taken a serious view of the issue of illicit small arms and light weapons and is adopting measures that will prevent criminals, armed groups, and other state actors from having access to illicit small arms.”

Also present at the event was Board Chairman of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Rev. Prof. Paul Frimpong-Manso.

He wants Ghana to maintain its ranking as the third most peaceful country in Sub-Saharan Africa in a survey conducted by the Global Peace Index.

“It [December elections] is an opportunity to show the world, once again, the level of maturity of Ghanaian-fledgling democracy. The threat posed by violence if not managed risks rolling back the country’s democratic dividends,” he said.

Ghana’s small arms situation 

It is the second consecutive election year that the Commission has burnt seized arms.

In July 2016, it destroyed 1,300 illegal guns in the country but warned that there were still more than 1.1 million of such firearms and light weapons that might be in wrong hands.

The guns being burnt

The guns, which were marked and broken before being set on fire, included locally made single- and double-barrelled shotguns, locally made and imported pistols, pump-action guns and local mortars.

The number of illegal firearms in wrong hands means that for Ghana’s 27 million population at the time, the ratio of illegal arms to the population is 1:25.

It is estimated that there are 2.3 million weapons in civilian hands in Ghana, with only 1.2 million of that number having been registered.

Election conflicts 

According to experts, the illicit trade in arms and light weapons had not only led to the proliferation of conflicts in most countries, including Ghana, but also the illicit transfer, storage, diversion and misuse of small arms and their ammunition, which were major contributors to pre- and post-election related armed conflicts in most parts of the world.

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