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Karp, Aaron. 2012 ‘Country Analyses: Nicaragua.’ Measurement and Use of Statistical Data to Analyze Small Arms in the Caribbean and Latin America; Section IV, pp. 25-26. Mexico City: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Center of Excellence, National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). 28 April

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In Nicaragua the number of registered firearms rose dramatically from 70,000 in 2002 to over 288,000 in 2010.(79) The change appears to reveal significant change in gun policy, emphasizing registration much more than in the past. Presumably a greater proportion of newly purchased firearms being registered by their owners, with the implication that unregistered shares are declining. This appearance is reflected in the total number of civilian firearms shown here.

The total firearms of the Nicaraguan police were revealed for 2006, when their armories included 4,795 pistols and 3,795 automatic rifles, mostly North Korean Type-68 AKMs.(80)

Nicaragua also stores a large military surplus. When its armed forces were reduced from 322,000 active and reservist personnel in 1986 to just 24,000 in 2010, over 90 percent of the country's military arsenal became redundant. This surplus creates substantial incentives for un-authorized exports. The best known example came in 2001, when a shipment of 3,000 Cuban-supplied Kalashnikovs and several million rounds of ammunition were delivered to Colombian AUC paramilitaries, in an affair named the Otterloo Incident, for the ship that carried the weapons.(81) Given the magnitude of Nicaraguan leftovers, the possibility for similar diversion will remain serious until unneeded weapons are disposed of permanently.


79) 70,000 registered in William Godnick, Robert Muggah and Camilla Waszink, Stray Bullets: The Impact of Small Arms Misuse in Central America (Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2002), p.3. 90,133 registered in 2006 in Report on Citizen Security in the Americas 2011, Washington, DC: Organisation of American States, January 2011.p. 22. 288,887 registered in 2010 Ana Yancy Espinoza, Arms Trafficking in Latin America: a qualitative perspective on the phenomenon - 1, unpublished manuscript for UNODC, Mexico City, 2012, pp. 30.

80) Julio A. Montes, "Nicaraguan fighting elites," Small Arms Review, April 2011, p. 61.

81) The best examination of the Otterloo incident is the Busby Report, named for its principle investigator, Report of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States on the Diversion of Nicaraguan Arms to the United Defense Forces of Colombia, OEA/Ser.G, CP/doc.3687/03 (Washington, D.C.: OAS, 29 January 2003). Also see Kim Cragin and Bruce Hoffman, Arms Trafficking and Colombia (Santa Monica: RAND Cooperation, 2003).

ID: Q11089

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