Community leaders trained on voluntary disarmament
By Baraka John
Community leaders have been trained on civilian disarmament strategy to equip them with knowledge of disseminating to armed Civilians massages of voluntary disarmament.
The training was conducted by the South Sudan Bureau for Community Security and Small Arm control, aimed at instilling strategy in the minds of the community leaders to convince armed members in their locality to voluntarily surrender their firearms to the government in order to create peaceful society in the State.
Speaking to media yesterday, the team leader for the bureau for community Security and Small Arm control, Mark Akim Maze said the only way to collect firearms in the hands of civilians is through preaching massage on how dangerous firearms are in the hands of civilians. He said for a voluntary civilian disarmament to happen, it should be within the context of South Sudan and aligned with the National development plan and the ongoing peace process.
“Within these two days the participants were able to learn firearms disarmament and conflict dynamic, disarmament process, measures to control flow of arms among civilians”.
Forceful disarmament of civilians during conflict is not recommended as civilians feel insecure because they are unable to protect themselves against their enemies,”
He added thatmost of armed community membersin Western Equatoria state used their firearms to protect their families, cattle or in most cases can be used for hunting wild animals as source of livelihood.
He revealed that if guns are being used by community as source of income generating activities, disarmament without proper planning to mitigate the impact can adversely affect their livelihood.
General Amos Tabia commander of Yambio central prison, one of the participants acknowledged the new skill of collecting guns from the hands of civilians but said disarmament can only be effective if the forces at the training site are to be unified under one command who will be in control of arms.
“We cannot carry out disarmament without unifying our armies in order to conduct successful disarmament, politicians should have one voice and avoid whispering to their communities to hide their guns,”Tabia said.
Mr. Commander GayosDirector General at the state Ministry of local government and law enforcement applauded the initiative saying collecting guns from hands of unauthorized persons is vital to mitigate the impact of conflict, promote security and stability and build the confidence of the civilian population in the prospects for long term peace.
“Collection and destruction of firearms is crucial for the stability of security in our County, but in order for it to take place, there must be trust between the state and the people and confidence in long term security, stability and peace. The security forces must have the necessary capacity and resources to implement the disarmament and information must be shared with civilians about the law governing firearms ownership before disarmament begins,”Gayos added
A survey conducted in 2015 by the South Sudan Bureau for community Security and Small Arm control stated that firearms were among several factors contributing to inter-communal violence, including poverty, conflict over natural resources, external interference and absence of effective law enforcement.
The Bureau for community Security and Small Arm control was established in 2008 through resolution No-280/2008 and resolution No-281/2008 by the Council of Ministers on 7th November 2008.
According to the fire arms Act, para.36, the bureau assists law enforcement agencies in the control of the arms. It is part of the Ministry of Interior. The bureau should support government, law enforcement agencies and communities to undertake voluntary civilian disarmament, advocate for small arms control, framework and address the root cause of conflict to facilitate peace and development.