A United Nations voluntary disarmament operation began today in a suburb north of the Ivorian city of Abidjan, aiming to collect illegal weapons still in circulation among the civilian population.
The operation, conducted by the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and national authorities, is part of a wider national campaign which began in June and that targets various regions of the country, with last month’s having been held in the town of Attécoubé.
“This operation will gradually increase in scale and allow us to recover weapons in various municipalities, both in Abidjan and elsewhere,” said UNOCI’s Deputy Director of the Division of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, Ndiaga Diagne.
“Every gun that is recovered is a plus, a success,” he said, adding that since its beginning some 1,000 weapons have been collected.
The operation in Abobo is conducted in collaboration with the Government, Ivorian police and the National Commission to Fight Against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons. For the Commission’s Executive Secretary, Anziani Kouadja, collaborating with UNOCI allows the population to benefit from accompanying measures such as training and support for income-generating activities.
Mr. Kouadja stressed that for the operation to be successful, rapid implementation of the accompanying training measures must follow. “I appeal to UNOCI so that those who have already laid down their arms can quickly benefit from these measures so that it may encourage others to do the same,” he said, adding that the campaign will also continue throughout Côte d’Ivoire.