Illegal trade of small weapons worries COMESA

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The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has described the illicit trade of small arms, light weapon (SALW) in African countries as an obstacle to the development of the continent.

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COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya noted that the wide availability and excessive accumulation of these weapons has increased tension on the continent.

Mr. Ngwenya said the trade has continued to frustrate efforts made to promote peace on the continent hence undermining the social peace of many African communities.

He said this in a speech read on his behalf by COMESA Legal and Justification Director Brian Chigawa during the fourth meeting of the African Union-regions steering committee on small arms and light weapons and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in Lusaka
today.

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Mr. Ngwenya said COMESA recognizes tasks, life threatening missions and the never ending challenges which the committee undergoes in order to make achievements in addressing SALW issues.

He congratulated the steering committee for the works it has undertaken so far and gave assurance of the COMESA secretariat’s continued support.

Meanwhile, National Commission on small arms light weapons (SALW) said Zambia was committed to the process of addressing challenges of the spread of these weapons in African.

SALW chairperson, Chilufya Wanchinga, said Zambia realizes the extent of the problems that comes along with SALW production on the continent.

Mr. Wanchinga said ineffective remedies towards addressing SALW would continue to frustrate efforts which are aimed at ensuring sustainable peace and development in Africa.

He noted that poorly managed efforts cannot tackle the current increasing threats of terrorism mushrooming on the continent.

Mr. Wanchinga said Zambia gladly joins hands with various institutions in fulfilling the mandate of the African Union’s control of illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking of SALW and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol on firearms, ammunition and related materials.

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