|Abubacarr Jawara, GACH|
The recent shipment of deadly arms and ammunition into the country has raised alarms in the country, as well as the sub-region and other agencies whose work it is to monitor the trafficking in arms and humans, regionally and across the globe.
The consignment of a single container of arms that landed at the Banjul port comprised of 252 boxes containing 1,263 pieces of assorted arms and ammunition has caused great concern and has left a country emerging from 22 years of dictatorship on tenterhooks, particularly the security establishment. This event could not have come at a worse time when the state’s institutions are weak and the coalition that formed the transition government in disarray. The security sector is in no better shape.
The Inspection Report from the Turkish port from where the weapons were shipped shows that the 1,263 pieces were shipped, made up of 900 pieces of Crossfire Single Barrel Model BR-32 (Wood Forend), 300 pieces of the BR-33 with crossfire pump action Model BR-0, BR-18 and BR 21 for a total of 60 pieces. For the pump action, the End User Certificate shows 50 but the Inspection Report from Turkey indicates that there were 60 pieces.
The BR-32 and BR-33 are semi-automatic that can be equipped with the BR-01 and BR-21 Crossfire Pump Action to convert them into fully automatic rifles. So contrary to the press release issued by the GACH Security company, these riffles are far from being hunting riffles. In the words of the weapons expert we consulted, these weapons are “more suited for security detail than hunting boar or chasing predator animals off one’s farm.”
What is missing from the End User Certificate but is in the Inspection Report are the following: 5 pieces of Crossfire Mezine Fed Shotgun + semi-automatic and 8 pieces Sentetien (or Ententien) F-98T and F-99T pistols. The weapons on video display plaid on online television stations did show pistols as well as riffles which are all semi-automatic that can be converted into fully automatic mode.
In the GACH press release explaining the circumstances surrounding the consignment and what they characterize as “the misunderstanding…at the heart of this whole saga is the free samples… which included Blank Pistols.” The release further claim that these blank pistols utilize a blank ammunition which only makes a loud bang and does not have the ability to cause harm.”
The pistols described in the GACH press release may exits but they are certainly not the ones listed in the inspection report confirming all of the items shipped from Turkey. The pistols shipped were Sentetien or Ententien F-98T and F-99T pistols are real and not “blank pistols”, as claimed by the importer.
GACH is also claiming that the BR-32 and BR-33 are “hunting riffles”. The weapons expert we consulted concluded that these type riffles are suited for security details and not for hunting. We have total confidence in the expert we consulted who is a retired military officer who knows a thing or two about weapons.
This is the first in a series of blog post about this and related matter concerning our national security