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Frank Boateng Asomani, National Commission on Small Arms & Light Weapons | Ghana

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Session on "Controlling the tools of violence"
Regional Review Conference on the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development
Nairobi, Kenya | 26-27 November 2014

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Frank Boateng Asomani, National Commission on Small Arms & Light Weapons | Ghana

  1. 1. Ghana National Commission on Small Arms & Light Weapons Presentation by Mr. Frank Boateng Asomani @ Regional Review Conference on the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development,26-27 November,2014.Nairobi,Kenya Session on (Controlling the tools of violence)
  2. 2. Outline of Presentation Key Problems and Statistics in Ghana Firearms Control Programmes and Intervention
  3. 3. Definition of Small Arms Small Arms: are those arms designed for personal use. They can be maintained, carried and used by one person. Examples: Revolver Pistol Local Pistol Assault Rifles Grenade Launcher Double Barrel Gun
  4. 4. Definition of Light Weapons Light weapons are weapons that can be maintained, used and carried by small groups (2-3 persons), or transported by small vehicles or pack animals. Examples are: Heavy machine-gun Rocket Propelled Grenade Recoilless Rifles Portable Missile Launcher Mortar and Bomb
  5. 5. Key Problems & Statistics The major sources of armed violence in Ghana could be attributed to availability of illicit firearms, persistent youth unemployment, increasing harsh socio-economic conditions, drug abuse and alcoholism, chieftaincy disputes, illegal mining activities, criminal activities, hiring of political thugs during elections, land litigation, According to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, 231,908 crimes were reported from January to December 2011 and 228,653 for the same period in 2012. Small arms incidents data from media reports captured by the National Commission on Small Arms in 2014 indicate that more than 30 people died as a result of armed violence by the end of June. The victims of the aforementioned armed violence included Businessmen, Politicians, Chiefs, Security Officers and Bankers among others.
  6. 6. Continuation of Key Problems & Statistics The Arms used in the aforementioned crimes, some of which were seized by the Police, were foreign-made pistols, AK47s and pump action guns with the majority being home-made or artisanal guns. In March this year for instance, the Police arrested 2 people in possession of 19 artisanal pistols, 1 pump action gun and 10 artisanal single and double barrel guns. Also, in May, 2014, 8 unlicensed gun manufacturers were arrested by the Police in the Central Region with 8 artisanal single barrel guns, 3 artisanal double barrel guns, 12 gun butts and 18 gun barrels. Again, a blacksmith was arrested in the Central Region by the Police that same month with 9 artisanal pistols, 13 artisanal single barrel guns, 1 artisanal double barrel gun, 3 live cartridges and 16 empty cartridge shells. The spate of armed violence in the country, considering the example of related death mentioned above, some of which may have escaped the media and were unreported, coupled with the arrest of those unlicensed gun manufacturers is an indication of an increase in the proliferation of illicit small arms in the country.
  7. 7. Continuation of Key Problems & Statistics Ghana is saddled with the issue of illicit firearms proliferation, particularly as a result of illegal artisanal arms production, which fuels armed violence. The artisanal gun is a major tool of armed violence in Ghana. Another major tool of violence in recent past is the axe. Statistics by the Police CID indicates that out of every 10 arms retrieved at crime scenes, 8 are found to be artisanal, made by unlicensed manufacturers while the remaining two are of foreign made. Sometimes, a percentage of the two is found to be a security category of arm such as the AK47.
  8. 8. Firearms Control Programmes & Intervention  Strengthening of the Law Putting in place the necessary infrastructure & Control mechanism to regulate local artisans (the production of small scale manufacture only for hunting guns) Identifying and mobilizing artisans into associations. Alternative Livelihood for local artisans Destruction of seized and confiscated arms & ammunition Public Education and Awareness Raising Campaigns on the illegal possession of firearms The ban on selling of axes on street which was a major tool of violence
  9. 9. Cont..Firearms Control Programmes & Intervention Ban on the possession of arms in armed violence prone areas where there have been persistent armed conflicts in recent times. Periodic ban or suspension of importation of civil category of arms As part of measures to control pilfering of State owned Small Arms an armoury inspection exercise was undertaken in identified regional capitals of Ghana to identify armouries and warehouses of the State Security Sector who are legally mandated to bear arms and ammunition to check whether stockpile management practices in the various armouries are in conformity with the national laws and international best practices. The Institution visited were the Military, Police, Prisons, Customs the Wildlife Division and some selected private magazines.
  10. 10. Cont..Firearms Control Programmes & Intervention Capacity building for state security agencies in stockpile and inventory management, border control and management Marking & Computerization of SALW of State Actors & Civilian Possession. Baseline Survey of SALW in the Country Amnesty/voluntary weapons buyback programme
  11. 11. Markers at Work
  12. 12. Markers at Work
  13. 13. Marked Firearms
  14. 14. ECOWAS LOGO
  15. 15. Marking Code GHGAFUS222-134 GH - Ghana GAF- Ghana Armed Forces US222- is the serial number 134 - is the 134th weapon been marked i.e a counter GHGAF01955-B-5 GH - Ghana GAF- Ghana Armed Forces 01955-B is the serial number 5 - is the 5th weapon been marked i.e a counter
  16. 16. IT Personnel capturing data into the marking software
  17. 17. Conclusion Generally, the various interventions that have been initiated in the country by the Ghana government, state security agencies, the National Commission on Small Arms and Civil Societies, with support from donor partners such as the UNDP, ECOWAS,FES etc to prevent, reduce and control armed violence, have led to a significant reduction in armed related crimes in Ghana over the years. More especially, the effective implementation of preventive measures has further resulted in the consolidation of peace in the country. Despite these successes, there are quite a considerable amount of challenges, especially in the area of resource mobilization, to effectively implement further programs and projects to combat armed violence. We in Ghana are hopeful that sustained funding by our donors together with frequent seminars of this nature to share ideas and best practices would further enhance the reduction of armed violence bringing it to its barest minimum.

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