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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid