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Regional News Fri, 27 Feb 2009

Blacksmiths expresses concern about proliferation of small arms

Sunyani, Feb. 27, GNA - The Brong-Ahafo Region Blacksmiths Association has expressed concern about the proliferation of small arms in the country and appealed to the Ministry of Interior to withdraw licenses given to blacksmiths to repair guns. Mr. John Addy, chairman of the association, told a news conference on Thursday that even though "blacksmiths are not allowed by law to manufacture guns and other small arms they can take license to repair them."

He said there was constant suspicion that blacksmiths who had licence to repair guns manufactured small arms "The suspicion of the manufacturing of guns has arisen in the sector mainly because some of the blacksmiths who obtained license hide under the pretext of repair to manufacture arms."

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"We want to operate in an environment that will ensure the sustainability of our industry", he said and called on the law enforcement agencies and the Ghana National Commission on Small Arms to work with the association in apprehending those who manufacture guns. Mr Addy appealed to the government to take a critical look at the blacksmithing industry and provide incentives and to support it to move it forward to meet international standards "We are hampered in our quest to produce what we know best such as agricultural implements and metal products for industry especially for the transport and health industries." "Our incomes are very low, we face poverty and our industry is generally weak in the region."

Mr. Addy said the association has a membership of 190 operating in 13 districts and it intends to set up a task force to monitor their activities and handover deviant members to the police for prosecution. Locally made bicycle carriers, axes, teak cutters, drill, handcuffs, cocoa cutters and climbing support were exhibited.

Source: GNA
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