Hoping to curb the use of illicit small arms and light weapons, the police, army and prisons will inscribe electronic bar codes on all guns in their armouries.
The country has recently been rocked by violent crimes, especially murders and armed robberies. And the police and other security organs blame this increased wave of criminal activities on illegal firearms. Speaking at a recent national workshop for the media and armed forces on the small arms and light weapons, Uganda People Defence Forces (UPDF) spokesman Col Felix Kulayigye said the army had already started electronically marking all its firearms.
Once all guns have electronic reader bar codes, Kulayigye said, it becomes easier to know the offenders because each owner (or user) will have been captured in the national database.
“The army is seriously committed to registering all guns within our custody and the exercise will be completed soon,” Kulayigye told journalists and security officials who attended the workshop at Imperial Golf Hotel in Entebbe last week.
Simon Kuteesa and Frank Baine, the police and prisons spokespersons respectively, said their institutions were also making progress. The Ugandan forces are working with the Nairobi based Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) to minimize the number of illegal arms in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa.
The government has already formed the National Focal Point (NFP), based in the ministry of Internal Affairs, to coordinate all activities related to eradicating illegal firms and ensure proper firearms registration. Joe Burua, the NFP public relations officer, says private security firms and individual gun owners will be registered in the second phase of the exercise.
Officials estimate that there are about 500,000 illegal firearms in the country.