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Illicit Small Arms, Light Weapons Trafficking Under Microscope

-As Liberia’s Borders No Longer Super-highway; LINCSA Boss Asserts

In the midst of rumors, claims and counter claims regarding assassination plot of President George Weah, the chairman of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LINCSA),Marvin Sarkor has assured Liberians that the country’s borders will not be used for trafficking of illicit small arms and light weapons.

According to Sarkor, the people of Liberia have no reason to fear as the commission, he noted, is working tirelessly with her international partners to include the British Government, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and many others to ensure that they help formulate policies and appropriate programs aimed at combating the proliferation of small arms and light weapons across the country.

Sarkor told reporters that the commission has set up a national control system which is intended to ensure that weapons brought in Liberia are not diverted to other countries for the use of arms conflict.

He said they are partnering with other international bodies to help make their respective countries and people live peacefully void of arms conflict.

Chairman Sarkor said small arms and light weapons have negative impact on society especially reflecting on Liberia’s dark pasts and as such; he called on those in possession of illegal weapons to peacefully turn it over to the Liberia National Police or the full weight of the law will be applied.

He said the constant waves of parading with illegal small arms by unauthorized persons is troubling for the security of the state, noting that they are putting in place practical policies and measures to help combat the flow of illicit small arms and light weapons in Liberia.

Sarkor reminded Liberians that under the laws of Liberia, only security institutions and personnel to include: the Liberia National Police (LNP) the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) The Executive Protective Service (EPS) and other personnel assigned with the president, amongst others are to carry arms.

At the same time, civilians are to only use single barrel guns exclusively for hunting purposes.

Sarkor who just returned from the annual Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) meeting added that Liberia is a signatory to the ATT, an international governing body charged with the responsibility of controlling arms  especially conventional arms; something he pointed out that for his country, mainly residents across the borders of Liberia should abide by at all times.

It can be recalled that Liberia in 2015 ratified the ATT, as the country is said to be at a point of the domestication of the legal instrument.

It is expected that President Weah will submit the bill to the National legislature for subsequent legislation. The LINCSA boss termed the meeting as a great experience sharing and a rewarding.

Sarkor who also visited Equatorial Guinea to represent Liberia on the ban of fossil materials to produce nuclear weapon and explosives said though Liberia does not have uranium, but added his voice to many voices urging countries and people with such resources to use it for nuclear energy purpose and not to weaponize it; something he added is worrisome to the general society and its people.

He said the commission remains committed to formulating all necessary policies and programs to help combat illicit weapons and small arms across the nation.

He noted that the commission has now expanded its scope to now conventional arms as decentralization and training of practitioners, he indicated will be his priority under his watch as Chairman of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms. Contributed by Julius Konton

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