Small arms are lethal: they cause most deaths in armed conflicts. In East Africa, the German Government has been working for more than eight years to combat the proliferation of illegal small arms.
For the police in Northern Congo, an efficient distribution and administration of their arsenals is especially important. For the conflict in the neighbouring Central African Republic can easily spill over the border.
Arms and ammunition are often stored in the open and unsecured – sometimes even together with office or flammable materials. They then pose a grave threat to people in the vicinity. They have to be destroyed expertly or stored correctly in order to ensure that they do not explode or fall into the wrong hands.
Due to the disastrous state of many roads in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Congo River is the main trade route – for both legal and illegal goods.
Marking and registration is essential for controlling weapons. An elderly member of a Sudanese community oversees the registration, during which the weapons are given an individual marking so that they can be traced. This makes arms smuggling more difficult. However, registering and marking all weapons is a very complex venture.
In order to guarantee the safe storage, administration and control of weapons, security forces undergo special training. Here police inspector Christine Nankya from Uganda is instructing a group of police officers from neighbouring countries in a workshop in Kenya on risk management during operations. Within the framework of the train the trainers programme, the course participants are to become instructors themselves and pass on the knowledge they have gained in their home countries.
Poaching, i.e. the unlawful hunting of protected wild animals, is a major problem. It often goes hand in hand with arms smuggling. Together they provide a lucrative source of revenue and can enable armed groups to make a living. By effectively controlling weapons, it should be possible to stop poaching and ivory smuggling. The photo shows the last two female square-lipped rhinoceros, which are under armed protection. Their horns are sold for 58,000 euros per kilo and are more valuable than gold.
This market lies in the border region between the Sudan and Chad. In the past, it was used to trade illegal weapons and occupied by armed groups. It was therefore too dangerous for the community to use it. Now they can once again sell food and household goods in peace – an important source of income for many people in the region.
Women play a key role for the security forces when it comes to effective weapons controls. These two female police officers from Baidoa, Somalia, are getting ready for an exercise in which they mark and register their weapons.
During the open day, Foreign Minister Maas asks Nikhil Acharya about his work in the field of small arms control.