The Assistant Inspector General of Police Eastern Region Al-Shek Kamara has disclosed that the rate at which light weapon and small arms are entering through the porous borders of the country is very alarming.
He also stated that most of these weapons are found within the Gola Forest chiefdoms in the region. The AIG east made this disclosure while addressing Traditional rulers, civil society and other stakeholders in the eastern region during a one day consultative meeting hosted by Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA) at the Kenema District Council hall along Maxwell Khobe street in Kenema city.
The meeting was funded by the Foundation for Security Development in Africa (FOSDA) and Education for Development (ibis) on the theme: The role of Traditional Rulers in enhancing human security in post conflict Sierra Leone.
The AIG East Al-Shek Kamara explained that between 28th August 20 to 2nd April 2009 fifteen (15) matters were investigated by the police in Kenema, Kailahun and Kono districts all involving small arms and light weapons.
He described the meeting with the traditional rulers and other stakeholders as very important not only to the police but for everybody in the country.
He appealed to the Paramount Chiefs to go back to their communities and tell their subjects that guns of any form is harmful and possessing it is not good not only for the individual but for the entire family. He praised the effort of a Paramount chiefs of one of the seven Gola chiefdoms that is bordering Liberia PC Alhaji Amara Goway Sama of Tunkia chiefdom of presenting a short gun to the police.
The AIG also pointed out that most of the shot guns being used are locally manufactured within the chiefdoms. He called on the Traditional rulers to do everything in their power to make their chiefdoms arms free at all times. He assured the chiefs and other stakeholders that nobody will be charged for any gun they turn up to the police. He said it is only through the cooperation of the traditional rulers that the community will enjoy total peace and development.
The Deputy Chairman of the Kenema District Council Lusani Sheriff pointed out that it is a great challenge to the traditional rulers to ensure that security exist and peace is maintained and development is feasible in their communities. He said they need to know their roles and responsibilities in arms trafficking and those chiefdoms bordering our neighbors’ need to collaborate with each other. He appealed to them that all knowledge gained at the workshop reach the wider community.
The chairman assured all and sundry that the Kenema District Council and its councilors and ward committee members will live no stone unturned in assuring total peace in the district.