To coordinate action against Small Arms and Light Weapons
proliferation in the great lakes region and horn of Africa.
RECSA’s 12 Member countries from the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States have renewed their commitment to mark their weapons by December 2008. This is in accordance with the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms, and the Best Practice Guidelines.
Member States are to ensure that all state owned firearms and those held legally by civilians are marked at the time of import, with a simple marking permitting identification of the country of import and the year of import, and an individual serial number so that the source of the small arm or light weapon can be traced.
The mark on each weapon should uniquely identify each firearm.
This renewed commitment was reaffirmed at the end of a Regional Arms Marking and Recordkeeping workshop held in Mombasa, Kenya from 31st March to 4th April. The meeting brought together RECSA, National Focal Point Coordinators, and officers from the Military and Police from the 12 countries, and the East African Community. The meeting was officially opened by the Kenya Commissioner of Police, Major General Hussein Ali, MGH, MBS.
The meeting recommended the use of electronic machines over the manual system to speed up the marking process. The former can mark up to 1,500 weapons a day, while the latter can only manage 500.
The computerised system has the additional advantage of data generation when marking, thus ensuring effective record keeping of information on small arms. Availability of these records will enhance effective stockpile management of all legal weapons within a country.
A number of RECSA Member States have already embarked on marking their arms with a view to meeting this deadline – Rwanda and Uganda. However, the process remains slow as in some cases the marking is undertaken manually.