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Berman, Eric G. 2005 ‘Arms Recovery and Disarmament Efforts - Unilateral National Initiatives.’ Small Arms Survey 2005: Weapons at War; Chapter 11, pp. 323-324. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva / Oxford University Press. 1 January

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Arms Recovery and Disarmament Efforts - Unilateral National Initiatives

The OCRB, the police unit in charge of combating banditry, has routinely seized weapons. Before 1996, it used to recover largely pistols and locally crafted hunting rifles. In recent years, however, it has seized rifles, machine guns, and even the occasional mortar. By late December 2003, the OCRB had recovered 51 small arms and 14 grenades. These numbers, which are slightly elevated in comparison to previous years, belie the changing scope of the problem. The police service believes that bandits are more numerous and better armed than before. At the same time, the strength of the OCRB has been substantially reduced. Whereas there were 130 OCRB police officers in February 2003, the number had fallen to 45 by December—with only one vehicle to pursue robbers.

The Government of CAR has recovered thousands of weapons along its international borders at times of heightened alert (using ad hoc patrols and deployments). President Patassé's presidential guard allegedly confiscated weapons from more than 4,000 FAZ troops who crossed into Mobaye in April 1997. In 1999 alone, for instance, President Patassé acknowledged recovering 3,328 weapons from FAC personnel. Given the much larger quantities of weapons that are likely to have been transferred across the border, and the disincentive for national authorities to provide a full and accurate account, the true number of armaments seized is likely to be significantly higher.

The weapons were stored at Camp Béal in Bangui. In October 2002, President Patassé's supporters took them to defend the capital following the launch of General Bozizé's coup attempt. The weapons were not returned.

[CAR = Central African Republic; FAC = Forces Armées Congolaises; FAZ = Forces Armées Zaïroises; OCRB = Office Central pour la Répression du Banditisme]

ID: Q5108

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