August 17, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s interior ministry has issued an order banning unauthorized personnel from carrying any type of weapon and canceling licenses not bearing the signature of the interior minister.
- South Sudan’s SPLA soldiers hold up their weapons as they shout at a military base in Bentiu 22 April 2012 (Reuters)
“From now onward, guns and all other types of weapons owned by police personnel and other organized forces will have to be kept in stores. All the police personnel on duty will no longer be able to carry their personal weapons in the public”, Aleu Ayieny Aleu, the new interior minister said in a statement broadcasted on state-owned South Sudan Television (SSTV) on Saturday.
Aleu’s announcement is seen as an effort by the government to prevent proliferation of weapons in the hands of the civilian population in urban centers.
The order authorizes security officers to set up strong monitoring measures at checkpoints and security patrols across the country to confiscate any weapons.
South Sudan has struggled with insecurity since it became independent in July 2011 with country still awash with small arms from decades of civil war. Robbery and cattle raids have been a major problem for the young nation.
Possessing a firearm is becoming a rite of passage for most cattle-keeping communities in the country and it will be virtually impossible to enforce the ban which is the latest attempt by authorities to try and curtail the spread of illegal weapons.
Minister Aleu said the order will be implemented with immediate effect, noting that his own bodyguard will also have to comply with the order or risk being arrested.
“This order must be implemented. Whoever is found walking with a gun at twelve midnight must be questioned properly. Don’t worry if it is because of the fear that letters will come from senior officials and officers when their relatives or friends are arrested. I will deal with it or let me take it from there”, he announced.