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Berman, Eric G. 2005 ‘Stockpiles.’ Small Arms Survey 2005: Weapons at War; Chapter 11, p. 313. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva / Oxford University Press. 1 January

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Twenty years ago, small arms proliferation throughout Central African society was not a pressing concern. Indeed, as late as 1979, relatively few arms were in circulation outside of state personnel. When government forces attacked civilians in January and April 1979, citizens fought back with poisoned arrows.

The situation has changed markedly since then. For example, according to an expatriate who lived and worked in Bamingui-Bangoran and Vakaga prefectures for several years, nearly every household in Vakaga is armed, with every person over 30 owning a weapon. These are not craft-production hunting rifles, but commercial firearms. The Kalashnikov is most common, but there are also quite a number of FN-FALs. Far fewer armaments are circulating in Bamingui-Bangoran. Across the country in Sangha-Mbaéré prefecture, more than 60 per cent of the population of the Kouapili district of Salo reportedly possessed at least one firearm in 1998. These weapons, however, tended to be rudimentary, locally produced hunting rifles.

Manufactured shotguns are also in plentiful supply. Russian 12-gauge shotguns made by Baikal are so prevalent in that part of the country that locals use the term 'Baikal' to describe all such weapons. Apparently, in the south-east of the country, it is not uncommon for three or four families in a ten-family village to own locally made weapons.

The vast number of weapons that have entered CAR in recent years in ways other than direct state-to-state transfers supports the contention that more than 50,000 weapons are circulating outside of government control.

[CAR = Central African Republic; FACA = Forces Armées Centrafricaines]

ID: Q5106

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