UNODC strengthens law enforcement officers on registration and recordkeeping of firearms in Mali
Illicit trafficking of firearms represents a threat to security in the Sahel. Weapons illegally acquired by armed groups or terrorist organizations enable them to undertake activities further destabilizing an already precarious security situation in the region. Ensuring an adequate recordkeeping of firearms of national stock is a necessity to trace back all movement of guns by law enforcement officials, and to promote evidence when it comes to investigations of missing firearms.
In this context, the UNODC Global Firearms Programme and the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (NatCom-SALW) of Mali organized a national workshop from 8 to 11 December 2017 for national law enforcement officers in order to enhance their capacities on registering and recordkeeping of marked firearms.The workshop gathered 16 law enforcement officials and was led by UNODC and an international expert from Côte d'Ivoire.
The Malian authorities have started to mark its firearms used in the various law enforcement agencies (Police, Customs, Gendarmerie, Water and Forestry, etc.) and have successfully marked some 38,000 firearms so far.
In spite of this, the marking was not carried out systematically with the registration intended for recordkeeping. The lack of specialized officers and a high number of staff turnovers within the law enforcement agencies in Mali have delayed the process of effective registration of firearms.
"Marking all firearms in the region is one of the key objectives of the UNODC Global Firearms Programme, but we also have to focus our attention on stock and data management to achieve an efficient tracing system for law enforcement agencies in Mali" says Jacques Ndour, UNODC expert on the matter. "It is also part of UNODC's objective for 2018-2019 to promote the use of sound evidence for investigative purposes and eventual cases brought to justice" adds Mr. Ndour.
In order to compensate this gap, the Malian authorities requested support to UNODC to organize a training workshop on the digital registering of firearms. The UNODC Global Firearms Programme is supporting the NatCom-SALW of Mali since 2014, both technically and logistically, by providing marking machines and registering tools to ensure recordkeeping and by organizing training workshops for law enforcement officials.
At the end of the workshop in Bamako, Commandant TAMBOURA Abdoulaye, from the Water and Forestry Agency who coordinates the marking process in Mali, expressed his gratitude to both participants and organizers of the workshop. He stressed that necessary actions will be taken by his agency to ensure efficient and systematic recordkeeping of all marked weapons.
The participants of the workshop as well as the international experts affirmed their willingness to continue their efforts to accompany the Malian authorities to mark and register all the legal stocks of weapons and create a hub in charge of managing the national database on firearms.
This activity was conducted thanks to the financial assistance of the Kingdom of Denmark. It is part of the contribution of UNODC for the implementation of the UN integrated strategy for the Sahel (UNISS) in the field of terrorism prevention and transnational organized crime.