Gabiro, 27 November 2017
Rwanda has launched a week-long operation to demolish 130 tons of Unexploded Ordnances (UXOs) and waste ammunitions at RDF Gabiro Training area, in Gatsibo District. The operation was launched on 27 November 2017 by the RDF Army Chief of Staff (ACOS), Maj Gen Jacques Musemakweli together with the Executive Secretary for Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) in the Great Lakes Region and Horn of Africa, Théoneste Mutsindashyaka.
The demolition of these UXOs and ammunitions is done in the framework of implementing the National Action Plan to fight against proliferation of illegal small arms and ammunitions. These demolitions are also registered in the framework of Rwanda’s commitment to meet the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and Bordering States, which gives RECSA the mandate to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Protocol in 15 Member States.
In his remarks while opening the Exercise, the Army Chief of Staff, Maj Gen Jacques Musemakweli underlined that these demolitions portray Rwanda’s commitment for safety of its people in particular and the region in general. Gen Musemakweli stressed that the current demolitions follow other series that began since 1994 to deal with challenges related to small arms, light weapons, unexploded and explosive devices that were all over the national territory after the liberation struggle, the campaign against the 1994 genocide against Tutsi and subsequent insurgency by genocidal forces. He also mentioned that security challenges in neighboring countries are in part a result of easy proliferation of SALW in hands of Illegal Owners, recalling that “Coordinated and concerted efforts by regional stakeholders is a requisite to deal with illicit trade and proliferation of SALW for the safety of the region”.
RECSA Executive Secretary, Théoneste Mutsindashyaka said Rwanda’s effort to control the proliferation of SALW is commendable as illicit circulation of small arms poses a serious security threat both at global and continental levels. He underlined that in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa regions, illicit circulation of small arms is both a cause and manifestation of insecurity and fragility. “The illegal SALW fuels political instability, sustains armed conflicts, abets terrorism, wildlife poaching, cattle rustling, and promotes socio-economic instability which slows down development” he concluded.
Both officials who addressed those who attended this exercise commended the support by the US Government and other partners.
Last year RDF also demolished over 55 tons of unexploded ordnances and expired explosives at RDF Gabiro Combat Training Centre area.