Khartoum, Sudan - A huge exercise is underway in Darfur to mop up weapons illegally in the hands of individuals, the African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) announced here Friday. It said that the exercise began 30 January in West Darfur.
"Over the course of the next six months, the Government of Sudan expects to register approximately 30,000 arms under the initiative which is designed to curb the proliferation of arms and reduce violence in the area," UNAMID said in a press statement, received by PANA here Friday.
According to the press statement, a two-day sensitization event in El Geneina, jointly organized by the Ministry for Interior, the Sudan Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (SDDRC) and the Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC), is aimed at sensitizing the people on the need to surrender weapons illegally in their possession.
Nearly 200 participants from governmental bodies, the diplomatic community, native administration unions and non-governmental organizations, are attending the sensitization programme.
In a symbolic gesture, 10 local leaders, each representing a different tribe, were among the first to register or surrender their weapons.
Organizers said all weapons not surrendered or not licensed after six months -- which is subject to extension -- will be considered illegal.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNAMID provided support to the SDDRC event through the provision of technical and logistical support, the press statement added.