MASERU “Today governments all over the world, which are members of the United Nations, celebrate the International Gun Destruction Day,” this was said by the Minister of Police and Public Safety, Honourable Monyane Moleleki when delivering a keynote address during the destruction of illicitly firearms in Maseru, Lesotho on 9 July, 2015.
When addressing the guests, police and people who gathered to witness this decisive exercise at Police Headquarters premises, the Minister reiterated that Lesotho is no exception to this phenomenon.
Hon. Moleleki affirmed that Lesotho as a country and member state of Southern African Development Community (SADC) ratified the SADC Protocol on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials in September, 2002.
He pointed out that the Provision of Article 10 and 11 of the Protocol, require state parties to dispose off weapons in a manner that prevents any chance of them returning into the market or flowing into the regions conflicts.
He explained that state parties also has an obligation to destroy surplus, redundant and obsolete state-owned firearm, ammunition or other related materials.
“The International Gun Destruction Day is a reminder to the world of all the heinous acts committed against innocent people through the use of illegally obtained firearms and light weapons,” the Minister recounted.
He said there is no doubt that illegally owned firearms are used to threaten the security of the country, and the government is highly concerned with this.
He said the government through police service as the arm for safety and security is working hard to create conducive environment for citizens of Lesotho and foreign business community, all to live peacefully in the country, without fear of firearms related crime.
The minister also promised to initiate the amendment, or repeal of the Internal Security (Arms and Ammunition) Act to replace it with a new law that is fully complaint with regional, continental and global instruments on the control of small arms and light weapons.
After his speech, the minister was lead to witness the display of demolition of illegal guns.
The Acting Commissioner of Police Mr. Keketso Monaheng noted that the destruction of illicit firearms in Lesotho is held pursuant to regional, continental and obligations arising out of Lesotho having signed and ratified instruments aimed at curbing the escalating crime of small arms and light weapons.
He emphasized that Lesotho as a member of Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (SARPCCO) has obligation to implement the SADC Protocol on the control of Firearms, Ammunition and other related materials.
“The total number of firearms that are going to be destroyed is 1003,” the Acting Commissioner said.
He said this include different calibers most of which were recovered from various operations held throughout the country.
He said some of the firearms have been surrendered to police.
The Acting Commissioner of police also appealed to members of the public to continue working hand in hand with police and report firearms crimes and also give information about unlawfully possessed of firearms so as to fight proliferation of firearms in the country.
Lesotho held its first firearms destruction exercise on its own soil at Rothe, Maseru in 2006 through the assistance of the neighbouring South African Police Service.
By then, the method used was Open-Pit-Bomb Detonation which was later regarded harmful and not environmentally friendly.