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Media tasked to assist security agencies control arms proliferation

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Mr Jones Applerh, Executive Secretary, Small Arms and Light Weapons Commission, (SALW), on Friday appealed to the media to help security agencies control small arms proliferation in the country, especially before, during and after the December polls.

He urged the media to use the power of mass communication to expose the dangers of illicit proliferation of small arms into Ghana and other West African States.

Mr Applerh was addressing a three-day capacity building workshop for journalists and media practitioners on current developments related to small arms and light weapons.

He said a baseline study in 2004 revealed that about 400,000 small arms were in circulation in the country, stressing that small arms were responsible for 60 to 90 per cent of direct conflict deaths each year.

He said the study identified that modern day chieftaincy disputes, land litigation, inter ethnic wars in the past and conflicts within the Sub-region were facilitated by the illegal importation, exportation and local manufacture of guns.

The workshop was organised by the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission on Small Arms at Sogakofe in the Volta Region.

He, therefore, urged the media to collaborate with SALW in curbing the use of arms in our society.

On the on-going Biometric Voter Registration Exercise, Mr Applerh noted the need for adequate education on the electoral process and modalities for peacefully resolution of disagreements.

Dr Cyriaque Agnekethom, Head of ECOWAS Small Arms Unit, stated that public education and awareness creation on measures to be taken ahead of the general election were vital to be able to inform every member of the society.

Showing a documentary on arms proliferation and its devastating effects in Liberia and Mali, Dr Agnekethom said women and children were the most affected when people were displaced and were faced with diseases, death and disability.

He said that the importation, exportation and manufacturing of small arms and light weapons were becoming alarming in the ECOWAS Sub-region and appealed to journalists to work against gun violence.

The workshop would also find ways to prevent and combat the accumulation of small arms and light weapons in the country as most of them were being used in armed robbery, chieftaincy disputes and other vices.

Source: GNA

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