Cameroon has prohibited the use of traumatic pistols across the national territory.
Speaking in Yaounde, Terrirotial Administration Minister Atanga Nji Paul said the decision was triggered by rising insecurity.
“Despite all the measures taken by the Government, the illicit circulation of firearms and ammunition are still a real threat to our country… several people still possess modern or locally made firearms without authorization. The number of firearms in circulation is far above the authorizations duly issued,” he told arms dealers.
This, the Minister of Territorial Administration noted, was enhanced by the dealers’ failure to keep the digital and physical data necessary for operations tracking.
“This laxity on your part makes it difficult for the administration to have useful and reliable information, in real-time, on the dates of entry and exit of the arms and ammunition sold/purchased, their characteristics, quantities sold or in stock, and customer identification and residence details,” he went on.
Law No. 2016/015 of 14 December 2016 on arms and ammunition in Cameroon, it should be recalled, empowers MINAT alone to authorize the importation, manufacturing, transformation, repair, acquisition, purchase, possession, transportation, transfer, sale, export and trade in arms and ammunition of the 4th and 5th categories nationwide.
Using the above law as the basis for his plea, Minister Atanga Nji urged them not to sell handguns to persons without the required authorization.
“Specifically, as concerns self-defense weapons like the ‘traumatic pistol’, Law No. 2016/015 of 14 December 2016 does not impose any authorization as prerequisite for the sale of this category of weapons. However, given the current security context, and considering what individuals of dubious character could use them for, the purchase of self-defense weapons, popularly known as ‘traumatic pistols’, is prohibited as from today all over the national territory,” a stern Atanga Nji proclaimed at the meeting.
He added that “any buyer of a traumatic pistol will also sign a written commitment to comply with the code of conduct and safety of holder of a 6th category weapon … The re-organization of this highly sensitive sector must be a constant concern for all stakeholders, most particularly firearms dealers”.
The Minister’s latest decision and meeting with arms dealers follows a rise in armed insurgency by the Boko Haram sect as well as an increase in the number of attacks by separatist fighters in the Anglophone regions of the country.
It however remains unclear how the decision will affect both groups, given the nature of weapons they use and attacks they carry out.