The government has embarked on a voluntary disarmament exercise in Kasese District.
The exercise which kicked off on Tuesday is being conducted by Internal Affairs Ministry and will be jointly conducted by the police and army. It is being supported by the African Union, Regional Centre on Small Arms-RESCA, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs-UNODA running under the theme ‘’Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2030.
Florence Kiribira, the Coordinator National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapon, says that they are mobilizing efforts in the district to encourage the civilian population to voluntarily surrender illicit weapons in their possession on condition of anonymity and immunity from prosecution.
She says the exercise targets regions that have gone through insurgencies. The others are Karamoja, Kampala Metropolitan, and Northern Uganda.
Kiribira says they are trying to build trust among the population that the government was ready to forgive whoever surrenders a weapon.
Col. Chris Bagamba, working with the National Focal Point Team on Small Weapons said that given the location of Kasese, the citizens are prone to receiving illegal firearms from rebel groups from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC.
The Kasese District RDC Lt. Joe Walusimbi appealed to Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu-OBR leadership to rally some of the former royal guards who joined rebellious activities to surrender and benefit from the olive branch.
The Rwenzori East Regional Police Commander, John Bosco Otim asked the local population to guard against the illegal entry of firearms by reporting to authorities.
Rev. Ezra Mukhonzo the Chairperson Inter-Religious Council in Kasese and his counterpart the Sheikh Baluku Musa Shadiq, the Kasese Muslim District Khadi want the disarmament campaign taken to places of the workshop and other social gatherings.
AU set September as Africa Amnesty month during the 29th ordinary session of August 3-4 July 2019 for surrender and collection of illegal firearms.
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