The Minister of External Relations, Lejeune Mbella Mbella said it was the Head of State, President Paul Biya who granted the request of the UN which sought to hold the event in Cameroon. During the event yesterday, Minister Mbella Mbella said Cameroon has been committed to fighting all forms of terrorism and insecurity in Central Africa and was elated to host the event which brought together experts in the domain. Eugene Ngalim, a civil society activist who is secretary general of the Central African Action Network on Small Arms.
Reports say as many as 10 million small arms circulate in the Central African sub region. These are instruments of violence, insecurity and socio-political destabilization. This harmful traffic unarguably constitutes a current threat for the States Parties to the Kinshasa Convention. Participants in the said conference started discussions on June 11 in Yaoundé. Theme of the work opened by Minister Lejeune Mbella Mbella is “the access of non-state actors to small arms and light weapons: a threat to the peace and security of the States of Africa Central.”
The spread of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in Central Africa, according to the representative of ECCAS Secretary General, Savihenda Daniel Raimundo, is a trigger for many crises recorded in the sub-region. Institutions are weakened and their collapse is often inevitable. The democratic process is undermined and anarchy is erected in order. This deplorable state of affairs is linked to the ease with which non-state actors acquire these weapons. The message sent by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, through his representative at the meeting, Ivor Richard, is to strengthen control circulation of arms in the sub region.
Armed violence resulting from the proliferation of small arms has led to the deaths of nearly 15,000 people in Central Africa over the past decade. Cameroon’s external relations ministry is at the forefront of this fight and is resolutely committed to strengthening its security architecture. Thus, the country has subscribed to the setting up of a legal device regulating all activities related to weapons. Cameroon is party to the Arms Trade Treaty, Kinshasa Convention. Its commitment is also seen in the communiqué signed on April 4 by the Minister of Territorial Administration closing arms and weapons shops in six regions, among others. In view of these elements, the fight against the proliferation of SALW is palpable in Cameroon, as illustrated by the strict regulations on the authorization of the carrying of weapons and the prohibition of the manufacture of small arms. The Kinshasa Convention was adopted on April 30, 2010 by 11 States of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and entered into force last year, specifically on March 8, 2017.