Thanks to Liberians United to Expose Hidden Weapons for sharing this update:
2011 Election Update: Liberia
We begin by extending our condolences to Mimidoo Achakpa of the IANSA Women's Network - Nigeria following the death of her son Charles Lubem Abaagu. He was shot and killed by armed robbers in a car-jacking on 4 September 2011. Our deep sympathy goes out to Mimidoo and family and friends.
Please send your message of solidarity to email@example.com, and we will forward it to Mimidoo.
Liberia's national police have uncovered a large cache of arms in Grand Gedeh County, close to the Cote d’Ivoire border. According to a police statement, it included 1,439 AK-47 rounds, over 70 AK-47 magazines, 67 AK-47 rifles, and 50-Calibre machine guns. Mercenaries and militia who fled Cote d’Ivoire after former president Laurent Gbagbo lost power are known to live in the area, and officials from both countries have expressed concern that they might have taken weapons with them.
Over the past decade, there has been growing international momentum to conceptualise, document and address the various manifestations of "armed violence".
A new cache of 30,000 bullets was seized by police in Narok, a town on the outskirts of Nairobi (Kenya) on 1 February. The ammunition was found at the premises of a man already facing charges for a separate arms seizure. In December 2009, police found 100,000 bullets, six guns and an assortment of military gear in the property of businessman Munir Ishmael, also in Narok town.
The bullets were manufactured by government-owned Kenya Ordinance Factory Corporation, which only produces ammunition for Kenyan security forces or government agencies.
IANSA members in the Great Lakes region have expressed serious concerns over disarmament initiatives in Burundi and DRC this week.
Around 21,000 combatants from the Burundian rebel group the FNL (Forces for National Liberation) are participating in a DDR scheme, after their leader surrendered his uniform and AK-47 to African Union troops. Although some combatants will be integrated into the police and army or be eligible for small business bursaries, most will return to civilian life with just $80.
ANSA members addressing the Colombian Congress (from left): Antonio Rangel Bandeira (Viva Rio), Rebecca Peters (IANSA), Luis Emil Sanabria (Redepaz), Jorge Restrepo (CERAC, in front row)
International campaigners visited Colombia this week to support 1.4 million citizens who petitioned their Congress for tougher gun laws. IANSA Director Rebecca Peters, along with Antonio Rangel Bandeira of Viva Rio (Brazil) and Gabriel Conte of Fundación Espacios (Argentina) addressed members of the Congress in Bogotá, informing them about developments in small arms control around the world.
The Gaza crisis has provided a dramatic illustration of why we need an Arms Trade Treaty, according to IANSA.
Most media coverage of the conflict has ignored the importance of preventing arms transfers to the region. Yet weapons supplied from outside have been used in violations of international law resulting in large numbers of civilian deaths.
"Both sides in the Gaza conflict appear to have committed violations of international law," said Rebecca Peters, IANSA Director. "Yet some states continue to supply weapons to the protagonists.
The Congolese national army has exhibited items recovered from a gun battle on 7 October in North Kivu, claiming they offer "irrefutable proof" that Rwandan Defence Forces are fighting alongside rebel commander Laurent Nkunda. The items include health insurance documents form the Rwandan Ministry of Defence, firearm storage equipment with the official seal of the Rwandan Defence Forces and R4 and AK-47 rifles, which the Congolese army says it does not possess.
After a week of intense conflict between Russian and Georgian forces, civilians in the Georgian town of Gori are now suffering a wave of armed looting.
News reports say lawlessness has taken over the town and its surrounding areas since its occupation by Russian forces. During negotiations over Russia's withdrawal from Gori, rebels from South Ossetia are believed to be taking advantage of the insecurity in the area, attacking villages and robbing civilians at gunpoint. A Georgian television correspondent was injured by a sniper while reporting on live TV.
Concerns are rising over the threat of renewed conflict between the government and rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as a BBC report reveals that both sides are re-arming in the east of the country.
It is reported that the government has flown six plane-loads of ammunition and arms into the city of Goma, despite the signing of a peace agreement with rebel forces in January 2008. Meanwhile, rebel leader General Nkunda of the National Congress for the Defence of the Congolese (CNDP) is believed to be recruiting new troops beyond the boundaries of DRC in Rwanda and Burundi.
The worsening security situation in Afghanistan is reducing the ability of humanitarian agencies to deliver life-saving assistance to vulnerable communities, according to a report by IRIN. Some 1.5 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance to respond to a severe drought. The French agency Action Contre la Faim (ACF) suspended operations in Afghanistan after 2 staff were kidnapped on 18 July. ACF has 250 staff in the country, and delivered assistance to 35,000 people in 2007.
People living in Nigeria's Niger Delta region are increasingly feeling the impact of armed violence on their communities and their daily routines. A small household survey conducted by the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey in Rivers state in early 2007 revealed that nearly one-third of respondents had experienced a violent crime in the previous six months. Many feared leaving their homes due to the threat of violence, and pointed to armed groups as the main source of their concern.
The cost of conflict on African development was approximately $300bn between 1990 and 2005, according to new research by Oxfam International, IANSA and Saferworld.
For the first time, IANSA, Oxfam, and Safeworld have estimated the economic cost of armed conflict to Africa's development. Around $300bn since 1990 has been lost by Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda.
This sum is equivalent to international aid from major donors in the same period.
Illicit firearms were destroyed in a public ceremony in Kenya, Nairobi, on 15 March.
Nearly 8000 guns went up in flames last week as part of the fourth national destruction of illicit small arms in Nairobi, Kenya. The public destruction ceremony was held on 15 March - exactly seven years after the Nairobi Declaration on small arms was signed in 2000.
The report 2006: Bringing the Global
Gun Crisis Under Control sets out the scale of the small arms threat
which affects every country in the world and results in the deaths of 1000
people a day.
'There are so many weapons here that each person makes his own law. There is practically complete impunity. Anyone who holds a weapon has authority over anyone and can threaten anyone.'