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Yemen stems weapons trade

Yemen stems weapons trade

[23/September/2008]



SANA'A, Sep. 23 (Saba) - Interior Minister Mutahar Rashad al-Masri said on Tuesday that Yemen will never allow weapons trade to be back after it was prohibited since June 2008.

Al-Masri was quoted by the state-run 26sep.net as warning that the Ministry would crack down any arms merchants who sell secretly or in public any pieces of weapons.

"The Ministry don't allow the death trade to appear again after we took an unprecedented step enabled to shut down the arm trade markets", he added

Yemen's efforts at internal control started after 9/11 with the new international focus on terrorism. The Yemeni government embarked upon a widely known weapons buyback program, hoping to disarm the tribes and thus neutralize the threat they posed to government control, in a non-confrontational manner.

Yemeni authorities have the closure of all arms markets pending the introduction of a new licencing system in a bid to control the trade in a country with one of the highest rates of private gun ownership in the world.

The Interior Ministry will be responsible for forming committees to draw up lists of all gun shops and weapons markets and their owners will then be required to apply for licences.

Yemen has an estimated 60 million firearms in private hands, roughly three for every man, woman and child.

Gun ownership has long been seen as an essential part of Yemeni culture.

NN/YA

Saba

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