Rwanda: New operations launched

- Rwandan Army and Police to receive training from MAG in weapons stockpile management and destruction

- Risk of death and injury to local communities reduced

- Wider population to benefit from lower threat of violent crime

MAG began a new project in Rwanda this week, to provide technical assistance and training to the Rwandan Army and Police in stockpile management and the destruction of surplus weapons, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and small arms ammunition (SAA).

The expertise passed on will benefit communities living close to stockpiles, reducing the risk of death or injury resulting from fire or detonation.

Also benefiting is the wider population, previously at risk from violent crime resulting from the looting of insecurely-stored weapons.

The project follows an assessment by MAG in August, in cooperation with the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA), to review the status of small arms and light weapons (SALW) activities being conducted in the country.

Subsequently, MAG obtained funding from the UK Government Conflict Prevention Pool (CPP) to undertake an initial four-month SALW project.

MAG will first train a destruction team comprising army personnel in stockpile management, weapons destruction and basic Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) skills.

A weapons destruction workshop will be established and equipped in the coming weeks. Following the training the team will start weapons destruction activities under the supervision and support of a MAG Technical Field Manager. At a later stage UXO / SAA destruction will be initiated at an already identified central demolition site.

The initial project will continue until the end of March 2009. During this period MAG will work closely together with the Rwandan authorities to identify further destruction and training priorities to be implemented from April 2009 onwards.