July 24, 2012 (RUMBEK) – South Sudan’s state of Western Bahr el Ghazal on Tuesday said it stopped soldiers and other members of the organised forces from carrying weapons in public places, apparently in an attempt to reduce crimes involving fire arms.
The state made the pronouncement after conducting arms search operations during which it was able to collect 59 weapons of different types held by unauthorised persons in Wau town, capital of the state.
The exercise which saw participation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), in collaboration with the state police service and other regular forces, was carried out following complaints about rising crime rate in the state.
Speaking at the end of the exercise on Tuesday, Governor Rizik Zachariah Hassan congratulated the army and explained that the aim was to remove illicit weapons from unauthorised groups and to create an arms free state.
Governor Hassan asked the army to remain ever prepared and ready at any time to respond to the national call in keeping the countries territory free from external threats and invasion.
“There are a lot of missions ahead to be accomplished. As an army you must always be prepared and show readiness to respond to any national security threat”, said Rizik.
He called for cooperation between security forces in the state. “You must learn to how to together because all you are doing is one. Work together as one force to put law and order in order to provide stability in the state so that all the citizens enjoy peace and stability”, he pointed out.
Major General Andrea Dominic, Commander of the SPLA fifth division in the state said that no soldier would be allowed to go out with their guns where there will be citizens. “All guns must be left in the barracks. Soldiers will not be allowed to carry their guns outside military barracks”, said Major General Dominic.
He assured the public that the operation of searching for illicit weapons would continue with the aim of making the town free from unauthorised weapons.