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22.02.2005 Regional News

Alavanyo's blacksmithing expertise should be developed

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Ho, Feb. 22, GNA - Instead of wrongly associating Alavanyo in the Volta Region with the local manufacture of small arms, the expertise of the local people in black-smiting in general should be developed into an agricultural tools industry in the Region, Mr William Kpende, Secretary to the Alavanyo Traditional Advisory Council suggested on Tuesday. Mr Kpende made the suggestion in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at the launching of the awareness campaign against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Volta Region by the Ghana National Commission on Small Arms.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of the Interior are sponsoring the campaign.

He said it was unfortunate that the citizens of Alavanyo's mastery of blacksmithing was being lost to the country as a casualty of the perceived notion that the area was a major centre for the illegal manufacture of small arms locally.

Mr Kpende said if it was a question of the local manufacture of firearms, there were many communities in the Volta Region and beyond, which had mastered the art and must be the focus of any initiatives to curtail the practice.

Moreover he said most of the weapons being used in violent acts originated from outside the country.

Mr Kofi Dzamesi, Volta Regional Minister in his keynote address, said the country's laws and regulations on small arms and light weapons were being reviewed and expressed the hope that it would enable the police to establish points of contacts to facilitate the control and use of small arms.

He said the new Arms and Ammunition Act would among others strengthen and harmonise procedures governing the control of firearms and enhance the collection and destruction of illicit small arms and light weapons.

Mr Dzamesi called on the citizenry to help promote the culture of peace and sustain the country's crucial role in Peacemaking and Conflict Management in the West Africa sub-region.