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15.12.2015 General News

Beware! Kumasi arms haul may have been intended for election 2016- Aning tells Police

By|Nathan Gadugah with additional files from Joy Newsdesk report
Beware! Kumasi arms haul may have been intended for election 2016- Aning tells Police
LISTEN DEC 15, 2015

A security expert with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre says weapons recently hauled by the Ashanti Region police may have been brought into the country for the 2016 elections.

Dr Kwasi Aning is convinced the story about the weapons being transported to Burkina Faso can only be diversionary.

Three Ghanaians and one Burkinabe were arrested at Alabar, a suburb of Kumasi over the weekend with10 G3s, 11 AK 47s and bolt of an M16 which can also be used to shoot down planes at short distances. The guns were reportedly heading to Burkina Faso.

All these weapons are serviceable – meaning they can be maintained by the average person. It is the biggest arms haul by the Ashanti Region police, reports have said.

Military experts say the arms and ammunition intercepted can hold an army for six hours. It is not the first time such arms have been intercepted by the country's police force.

In June, customs officials in Kumasi intercepted arms comprising nine AK 47 rifles, a loaded pistol and 281 rounds of AK 47 ammunition from neighbouring Ivory Coast.

In August this year, Accra Police impounded 800 ammunition en route to Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region. That same month saw another interception of 21 boxes of "Red Star" ammunition cartridges in Bimbilla North District in the Northern Region.

In July, police in the Upper East region impounded a vehicle that carrying AK 47 rifles and ammunition.

A political dialogue on small arms violence revealed more than 1.3 million weapons believed to have been smuggled into the country are not registered.

This was disclosed in a preliminary investigation conducted by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping training Center with a call to retrieve such weapons.

Dr Aning in an interview with Joy News said the suspects arrested in the Kumasi arms haul must be investigated thoroughly. He said using violence as a vehicle to win political power is not new in the sub-region, adding, these weapons could have been brought into the country to disrupt rallies, intimidate voters etc.

He suggested that the police must keep all avenues of investigation open, confiscate phones and laptops belonging to the suspects; have their bank accounts checked to find out who the suspects have been dealing with in the last couple of months.

"The police must find out anyone who has breathed the same air as these suspects," he stated.

The Interior Minister Mark Wayongo shares the concern by Dr Aning. In an interview on Joy News he described the situation as "worrying" and called for a concerted effort to address the problem.

He blamed the proliferation of small arms on the country's porous borders which he said had been used to transport these arms into the country.

"We must intensify surveillance on the border, conduct more intelligence-based investigation and conduct random searches and give more incentives to informants," he chronicled some of the solutions.