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Congo: Purchase of Illegal Weapons Under Way

IRIN (UN News)

13 February 2009

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BRAZZAVILE — The Congolese government has started an operation to buy 3,000 weapons from ex-combatants and others illegally possessing weapons in the Pool region, southern Congo, an official told IRIN on 11 February.

"Teams have been deployed on the ground. The operation to buy up the weapons started on 10 February in Pool region. It should allow the purchase of at least 3,000 weapons still in circulation in this zone," Moandzibi Olingoba, commissioner in charge of the reintegration of ex-combatants, told IRIN…

The operation has funding of 500 million CFA francs (US$1 million) from the government. Its main target is the 5,000 ex-combatant Ninjas still active under the former rebel chief, Frédéric Bintsamou, alias Pasteur Ntoumi, who has been cut off in his Pool stronghold for more than 10 years.

According to the deputy high commissioner for the reintegration of ex-combatants, Col François Bouesse, the buy-back price for a Kalashnikov is 100,000 CFA francs ($200).

"The more weapons ex-combatants bring in, the more money they will get," Bouesse said…

The programme has US$17 million funding from the World Bank.

ID: N228

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