22 April 2015 - The history of Guinea-Bissau has been marked by instability, human rights violations and fragile institutions. Gun ownership in the hands of civilians has been one of the causes and consequence of that instability. To try to put an end to this situation, the Guinean authorities with the support of the United Nations is calling in the population to deliver and register any weapons in their possession.
The Ministry of National Defense and the General Staff of the Armed Forces, in compliance with the laws of Guinea-Bissau, launched a Weapons Registration campaign last March, which is now ongoing throughout the territory, and has been extended until 31 May 2015.
The campaign aims to give opportunity to all persons in possession of a weapon to register it or hand it over voluntarily. Registration is mandatory throughout the national territory.
Colonel Leonardo de Carvalho, head of the Army’s Division of Armament and Technology, is overseeing the Arms Registration Campaign: “Guinea-Bissau is in peace and there is no need for people to have weapons."
"The campaign is an initiative of the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces, Armed Lieutenant General Biague In Tam and the Minister of National Defence. They have both understood that it is time for all weapons to be registered, whether they are being held by active military, reserve military, in the hands of former combatants, whether in the hands of their children, or the population. Registration is mandatory, "said Colonel Leonardo de Carvalho.
Diego Rodriguez, UNIOGBIS Security Sector Reform Officer, says that the initiative is very important, "because all the weapons in any country must be properly registered." "Right now, we are following a delegation from the Ministry of National Defense and EMGFA to all military units of the country to see how everything is going and support the field staff," he said.
Captain Alexander Tamba, from the Human Resources department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces is one of the people who have already handed over their weapons voluntarily: "I understood that the weapon is a purely military instrument that cannot be scattered everywhere. There is an institution that is responsible for them, and therefore, the time of peace, they must be kept away, "he said.
The population welcomed the campaign. Carpenter Dominic Nanque stressed: "there is no need for people to retain their weapons, since the country has changed and peace entered our homes."
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