By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control is conducting capacity building to boost the planned civilian disarmament and curb proliferations of small arms in the country.
In latest Small Arms Survey report, 2016, stated that there are 720,000 to 3 million small arms in the hands of civilians in East Africa country.
Lt Gen. Andrew Kuol Nyuon, chaired of South Sudan Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms Control said training of law enforcement personnel and strengthening their capacity, together with sensitization and awareness campaign will enhance peaceful disarmament in the country.
“We would want actually to move from state to state so that we sensitize and make awareness to our people in the country, so that disarmament becomes very easy. If we don’t disarm the mindset of our people then it will be difficult to collect arms in the hands of the people,” Nyuon said on Wednesday in Juba.
He said the proliferation of small arms has become a big security threat in the horn of Africa and Great Lakes region, but particularly South Sudan.
“You cannot exactly tell the number of small arms in the hands of civilians,” Nyuon said. In South Sudan, we have been in war for 40 years and in all these wars when we were in one Sudan, civilians were acquiring arms. These arms have not been collected so you actually concluded that the whole population of South Sudan is armed,” he further said.
“If South Sudan is not secure, then the regions will not be secure,” he said, while calling for helps from the state government and region countries.
However, the disarmament efforts have been tried in Jonglei region, Gogrial, Tonj, and Rumbek areas which have in the past experienced civilians killing due to cattle rustling, but it has not curbed the proliferation of small arms.
South Sudan joined RECSA regions and become a part of Nairobi protocol 2011, right after her independence from Khartoum regimes.
The Regional Center on Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes regions, the Horn of Africa and Boarding States (RECSA) is supporting South Sudan to achieve capacity in disarmament and controlling small arms proliferation across its absorbent borders.
Mr. Christo Simon Fataki, head of RECSA delegations in South Sudan, said they are providing capacity and skills to support South Sudan in marking and tracking weapons.
“We provided three electronic marking machines to South Sudan to mark their weapons, also to create database. We also installed the RECSA small arms tracing system and we trained personnel on marking as well as how to install database,” Fataki told the media in Juba.
He said they will provide office equipment to boost the capacity and skills of South Sudan bureau on small arm control and train law enforcement agencies on the area of physical security stockpile management (PSSM) so that they have skills in managing weapons and ammunitions.
As the disarmament is a long process, Fataki says it required local communities’ participation so that they own the process. This also can only be conducted in conjunction with provision of security in order to protect those being disarmed.
“We try to disarms our communities mentally before disarms physically,” Fataki said. Disarmament also doesn’t mean the physical removal of weapons from the civilian hands but it also addresses social, economic, political development, good governance and security sector reform so that if the whole population is catered in all aspects, [then] there will be no need or demand of small arms in the hand of civilians,” he further explained.
The untold numbers of civilians had died and continues to dies due to the proliferation of small arms in the country, which fueled cattle rustling and child abduction across the country.
Also in South Sudanese culture, everyone want to have a gun. Therefore, the civilians know how to shoots but they do not know to manages and control a gun, something threats to every human being in the world youngest nation.
The Bureau says, the ongoing conflict, broke out 2013 was fueled up by the proliferation of small arms in the hands of civilians.
The observers, the arms in the hands of civilians are more than what the government have, and that why you always heard of new insurgencies in the country.
With this revitalized peace deal, signed on September 2018 between President Kiir and opposition groups, it recommended disarmament process to curb proliferation of small arms and to end randomly killing in the country.