August 3, 2017 By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA) yesterday commenced a two-day sensitization training of blacksmiths on the details of the 2012 Arms and Ammunition Act.
Coordinator of the SLANSA, Adenike Cole stated that the control of small arms and light weapons remains a huge challenge, and that it is part of their objective to sensitise the public so that small arms would not land into the wrong hands.
Working with the Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms (SLeNCSA), she said SLANSA sensitise people and raise awareness on issues of human security and that the training was geared towards educating blacksmiths, who are mostly in the trade of producing small arms, so that they would be aufait with the law.
She said the organization’s objective is to mitigate arm violence in communities and ensure that small arms do not land into the wrong hands.
Assistant Inspector General of Police, AL sheik Kamara said arms manufacturing has started years back, hence the need for a law that could control the process.
“We know you are producing arms for good reasons but we are concern that you should do it within the ambit of the law. We would not criminalise you at all but the law dictates that you should have license to produce arms,” he said.
He noted the need for a control measure as to who produce, handle and use small arms so that the security would be in a position to protect the country.
He said the police was well aware of the fact that blacksmiths were engaged in arms manufacturing, thus admonishing them not to do the trade in a clandestine environment.
Director, Office of National Security (ONS), Francis Languba Keili, said the meeting with blacksmith was timely and that it’s a good initiative towards the safety of people in Sierra Leone.
He added that blacksmiths have the tendency and capacity to produce short guns which are sometimes used by people to kill and shot people in the country.
“The Commission is still relatively new and hasn’t been able to register and licensed some of the small arms in the provinces,” he said, adding that the blacksmiths have a responsibility to register and license the guns or arms they manufacture.
He stated that manufacturing short guns illegally is a crime and culpable under law in Sierra Leone, assuring of ONS continuous support towards the work of SLANSA in the country.