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General News of Tuesday, 6 September 2016


Government retrieves over 800 illicit guns out of 1.1m weapons

Government has retrieved over 850 guns from the illicit weapon market, Small Arms Commission has revealed.

Executive Secretary of the Commission, Jones Apleh, says even though the number is significantly small compared to the estimated 1.1 million unlicensed weapons in private hands, it should excite Ghanaians.

“Even if one is taken out of the illicit market we are happy about that. We think that 855 guns retrieved is a good number and it is something that we need to encourage law abiding Ghanaians to do,” he said.

Mr Apleh disclosed this to Dzifa Bampoh, host of Joy FM’s Newsnite programme Tuesday.

With close to 15 days to the expiration of government’s amnesty to individuals possessing illegal weapons in the country, many security experts are worried the noble idea to retrieve illicit weapons in circulation would be defeated.

The amnesty which was announced by the Interior Minister, Prosper Bani, began on August 22 and will end on September 23.

A security analyst with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC), Dr Kwesi Aning, says the initiative is none different from its predecessors which all failed.

“It is not going to make any difference. What is the basis for the amnesty? The people who smuggled guns into this country and have been arrested over the last fifteen years what has happened to them?” he quizzed.

But Mr Aplerh says the amnesty is just one of the many measures government has put in place to retrieve the illegal weapons.

He says the police working with other intelligence groups will target the hideouts of armed robbers who are in possession of “military type weapons”, citing the Tuesday arrest of two high profile armed robbers in Kumasi known as Jalloh Junior and Senior.

He was optimistic that by the end of the amnesty period they would be able to retrieve a lot of the guns in circulation.

He, however, says feedback he got from individuals point to the fact that some persons in possession of illicit guns are suspicious of the announcement.

These people, he says, believe it is a trap meant to arrest them and make a public spectacle of them.