News / Africa

    Official Urges South Sudanese to Disarm

    A South Sudanese soldier holds his rifle. Civilians own most of the small arms in South Sudan. (Reuters/File)
    A South Sudanese soldier holds his rifle. Civilians own most of the small arms in South Sudan. (Reuters/File)
    Hou Akot Hou
    The head of South Sudan’s Bureau for Small Arms Control has called for a nationwide effort to drastically reduce the number of firearms in the country, saying a “gun-free society” is key to stability in the fledgling nation.

    “It is absolutely fundamental for all of us – for communities, for the government, for religious leaders, for traditional leaders, for you and everybody -- to ensure we live in a peaceful environment, a gun-free society. When we do that, I think the government will be able to provide services to the people,” Riak Gok Majok, director of the Interior Ministry bureau tasked with gun control, said in an interview with VOA News.

    Huge numbers of guns flowed into Sudan during 22 years of civil war between the north and south, which ended in 2005.
     
    A report by the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey said there were some 2.7 million small arms and light weapons in then still-unified Sudan in 2009.  Around two million of those weapons were “in the hands of civilians countrywide."
     
    South Sudan, where most of the civil war was fought, gained independence in 2011 under the terms of the peace agreement that ended the war with Khartoum.
     
    The role of the Bureau for Small Arms Control is not to physically disarm civilians in South Sudan but to act as a central coordinating body to ensure that weapons surrender happens peacefully, Majok said.
     
    The bureau has drafted “a law which will govern the use and possession of small arms in this country,” and is coordinating partnerships with international organizations, such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), to fund disarmament.

    It also runs programs to raise awareness in communities of the need to turn in weapons, Majok said.
     
    A key obstacle to successful disarmament in South Sudan is the lack of facilities to securely store weapons surrendered by civilians, Majok said.
     
    “We know very well that, even if we disarm, if we do not have strong storage facilities to store the collected guns, they will come back to the community,” he said.
     
    To overcome that, the bureau has set up a program to mark all small arms that are handed in to the authorities.  “If a gun goes back into the community, it will be known where that gun is coming from,” Majok explained.
     
    Majok spoke to VOA News in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, where he said there are around 8,000 guns in an area of around 30,500 square kilometers.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora