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Voluntary disarmament campaign kick starts in Bundibugyo

By Longino Muhindo

BUNDIBUGYO: The government of Uganda under ministry of internal affairs has started a voluntary disarmament exercise of illegal small arms and light weapons in Bundibugyo District.

According to Florence Kiribira, the Coordinator National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapon, the exercise aims at encouraging community members who are having illegal guns to voluntarily surrender them and benefit on this AU amnesty period that runs up to the end of march this year.The program also aims to raise awareness of the risks entailed by owning guns and ammunition.

Bundibugyo District Stakeholders during the launch of voluntary disarmament campaign. Photo by Longino Muhindo

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.

Kiribira says the exercise targets regions that have gone through insurgencies especially Karamoja, Northern Uganda, Rwenzori and parts of Kampala Metropolitan.

“This will contribute to the peace and security in the country through effective control and management of small and light weapons and it will be conducted by police and army”, Kiribira said

Col. Chris Bagamba, working with the National Focal Point Team on Small Weapons, said in Rwenzori region they have concentrated on the districts of Kasese and Bundibugyo given their border locations where citizens are prone to receiving illegal firearms from rebel groups operating in the neighboring parts of DR Congo.

Col. Chris Bagamba, addressing Bundibugyo stakeholders on voluntary disarmament campaign

“I want to inform any person with an illegal gun that for government to forgive you, you ought to surrenders those weapons, so i call upon you to surrender those guns in this period for no one will persecute you”, Col.
Bagamba said

The Bundibugyo Resident district commissioner-RD, Amos Asiimwe Baggyi appealed to all stakeholders to rally community members who joined rebellious activities to surrender guns and benefit from this amnesty period.

“If you know that you have an illegal gun I hereby ask you to it in my office no one will question you, just put it on my table and say bye Mr. RDC as simple as that”, Mr. Asiimwe said

However, the Bundibugyo district speaker Mr.Muhumuza Etienne asked government to give out a small package to those who voluntarily surrender these guns as a way to motivate others who are adamant to emulate and also surrender them.

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