10.07.2006 Liberia

Police seize toy guns in Liberia

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A consignment of toy guns, including water pistols, has been seized by police in Liberia. They were part of a trade fair in the capital, Monrovia, organised by a delegation of Iranian businessmen.

Liberia's police regularly confront armed criminals and face enormous challenges after 14 years of war, says the BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layleh.

"These realistic looking toy guns could be altered to appear like real guns," said deputy police chief Alfred Karlay.

"If I did not tell you it was a toy you wouldn't know. We have people out there who are using these instruments to intimidate our citizens."

He said that following the brutal civil war, "we cannot allow war toys to saturate our society".

The organiser of the exhibition said the police action was unnecessary as many of the toy guns were harmless water pistols.

"These toys are for the kids and are plastic," said Rahim Tabari.

Other items at the Monrovia city hall trade fair include carpets and domestic and household goods.

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