The Chairman of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms or LINCSA, James M. Fromayan, has revealed that a pilot project to collect small arms in communities is ongoing in three counties.
Mr. Fomayansaid the project, which started six months ago in Grand Gedeh, Riverr Gee and Maryland Counties, is collecting small arms from communities in exchange for development. He made disclosure Thursday during a meeting of the National Technical Committee to review the first semester implementation, which is being supported by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS and the European Union Small Arms Projects held at a local hotel in Monrovia.
Chairman Fromayan noted that the pilot project, which is expected to last for two years if implemented successfully, will be extended to other counties across the country, adding that despite the disarmament process that took place after the 14-year civil war, illegal arms are still found in some communities.
He also pointed out that with the passage of the Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015, LINCSA will embark on the registration of arms and ammunition in Liberia to ensure the protection and safety of arms in the country.
The LINCSA chair indicated that if community dwellers cooperate with the project, it will go a long way in making Liberia free of illicit arms which, he noted, is critical in preventing armed conflict. The Liberia Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015, the legal framework for regulating the possession and use of small arms and light weapons in the country, has been passed into law by the National Legislature.
The domestic guns control law was passed on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 by the Liberian Senate when 24 out of the 30-member House of Senate voted in plenary with (20-for, 2-against and 2-abstention) to pass the law in the upper House.
Following its passage in the Senate, the Law was sent back to the lower House for concurrence where it was said to have emanated with no notable objection. LiNCSA has described the Senate passage of the Liberia Firearms and Ammunitions Control Act as a welcome development.
A press release issued by the Commission over the weekend quotes the Commission as saying tthe passage of the Act by the Liberian Legislature is a huge step towards the processes leading to the full transition of national security from UNMIL to Liberian security apparatus.
The Commission observed that with the passage of the Act, it was now possible to secure the lifting of the arms embargo imposed on Liberia by the UN Security Council since 1992; an action which the Commission says is necessary to allow Liberia’s security forces to acquire arms within the framework of the ECOWAS Convention on SALW Exemption protocol for arming state security forces for the purpose of defending the state.
By Ben P. Wesee-Edited by Jonathan Browne