Sana’a citizens to hand over their weapons [Archives:2007/1080/Front Page]

August 27 2007

Amel Al-Ariqi
SANA'A , August 26 ) Residents in Sana'a city have until Sept. 1 to hand over their weapons. Security authorities in Sana'a confiscated 617 weapons during the last three days, said Mohammed Abdullah Al-Qawsi, Deputy at the Ministry of Interior.

Some 300 weapons were found in Sana'a and the rest in cities across the country, mostly Kalashnikovs.

This process comes as a consequence to the Interior Ministry's statement last Thursday banning ban city residents from carrying fire-arms. The minister's circular also prevents weapons from entering the capital city of Sana'a, as well as canceling all the previous licenses.

The ministry also banned carrying licensed firearms and warned to arrest and punish anyone who violates the decision and guns of violators will be confiscated. According to the ministry, this measure aims at vacating the capital from weapons and encouraging tourism and investment in Yemen.

Majority of the committed crimes in Yemen are due to carrying guns. Some of these crimes were committed for petty reasons. “Carrying weapons in the cities scares civilians and spreads fear,” said Al Qawsi.

A security officer confirmed that the weapons ban announcement is in accordance with the tenth article of law No.(40) /1992 concerning gun carrying control. The article forbids any one who possesses weapons to carry it inside the capital city of Sana'a as well as cities of the other governorates.

He pointed out that this measure includes influential people including members of the permanent committee of the General People Congress (the ruling party) and officials of the states. Only bodyguards of state senior officials and members of the Parliament, Shoura Council, and local councils will be allowed to carry small pistols in an discrete manner, said the officer.

Although the ministry has a plan to implement this regulation in other cities and to collect all weapons across the country. This issue is still disputed among Parliament members. Some of them protest the weapons law especially those tribal sheikhs. However, Al-Qawsi emphasized the importance implementing the law. “I say to all people including women that the purpose of this measure is to protect you and make you feel secure. Your cooperation with security authorities will help us do our job.”

Al-Qawis admitted that the fate of the seized weapons will be decided by security and judiciary authorities.

According to local media reports