Rome (Agenzia Fides) - There are 7 million small arms circulating in West Africa, one million in Nigeria alone. 77,000 of these are in the hands of guerrilla groups that fuel conflicts in the Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
To address this problem, the European Union, the main trading partner countries in the Countries of the region, has launched an initiative together with CEDEA/ECOWS in order to recover weapons in the hands of civilians in the area.
Seven West African States joined the program: Mali, Liberia, Guinea, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
The program, which began in 2014 and due to finish in 2017, focuses on communication and the teaching of the dangers of trafficking of small arms in the villages and in border cities and their role in fueling violence. This is followed by an invitation to the people to voluntarily surrender their weapons in exchange for community development projects. The village leaders have been urged to take part in the initiative. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 27/05/2016)