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AU appeals for surrendering of illicit arms

Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli

Sept. 22, 2020 2 min read

THE African Union (AU) Chairperson for Peace and Security Ambassador Salah Francis Elhamdi has appealed to all people in possession of illegal arms to hand them over to designated national authorities during this month.

September has been selected as the month during which to surrender all illicit firearms.
In a statement released this week, Mr Elhamdi said the AU assembly has decided that anyone who will surrender their unlicensed arms will not be prosecuted because by so doing they will be contributing to the silencing of guns in Africa.
He added that a peaceful, secure and prosperous Africa will result in advancing development of their countries.

He said this is the desire of each country therefore they should all work together for a brighter future of the continent.
The decision for silencing the guns is intended to remove illicit weapons from the hands of civilians and non-state actors.
“Illicit weapons are one of the biggest enemies to peace, security and development, and every effort to get rid of them should be welcomed by every peace-loving individual in our continent,” Mr Elhamdi also said.


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For his part, the Commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli also appealed to members of the public to heed the call, reiterating that no prosecutions would be made against civilians who surrender unlicensed firearms which are in their possession.

But Commissioner Molibeli was quick to show that only people who committed criminal act with such guns shall be taken to task.

In 2013, African states agreed to the collective aim of 'Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020', striving to end all conflicts, build durable peace and foster sustainable development on the continent. As 2020 marks the target year of the flagship initiative, a campaign to accelerate progress was launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the AU Summit held in February under the theme, 'Silencing the Guns in Africa: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development'.
To help end the flow of illicit small arms and light weapons, the AU in 2017 established the 'Africa Amnesty Month' initiative, to take place each September until 2020.
Worldwide, some 85 percent of all small arms and light weapons are in civilian hands. In Africa, civilians own more than 40 million small arms, but few civilians are licensed holders. These weapons are enablers of armed violence and constitute a serious threat to peace.



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