Many people have and own weapons in their houses. Owning a weapon is not the problem but acquiring it illegally is. Cameroon just like any other country has rules and regulations governing this activity to prevent and avoid arms falling into the hands of ill-minded persons. Owing to the degree of expertise and caution involved in this domain, Jacques Didier Lavenir Mvom, a retired Colonel of the Cameroon’s Military force, throws more light on the situation. A PhD Dr. in Political Sciences and Lecturer at the University of Yaoundé II and a graduate from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC), he is an expert in security and defense at the CEEAC. Here is what

he has to say concerning the governance of arms in Cameroon.

“We have to go back a little bit in history to understand this concept in our country. Until December 2016, arms were controlled by Decree N° 73/658 of the 22nd of October 1973 which governs the importation, sales, transfer and ownership of fire arms and bullets. Other sectors also talk about this such as law N°67/LF/1 of the 12th of June 1967 of the Penal Code of Cameroon, which lays out rules on how defaulters are punished, Decree N° 95/466/PM of the 20th of July 1995, fixing custom modalities which classify them into categories for instance arms for hunting or arms used for sports. This last decree went into use following law L 94/01 of the 20th of January 1994 governing forestry, wildlife and fishing.

Concerning traditional fire arms, all is done at the level of the SDO’s office and laws put in place by the administrative bodies and sectors in the various Divisions, to take care of this question.
In the early days, there was already a sort of categorization of arms which did not take into consideration today’s laws put in place by the United Nations and the Central African Convention for the control of light arms, their parts, bullets, parts used to build these arms, repairs and assembling in the Kinshasa Convention. Nationally speaking, the decree had as mission to empower the DO and the SDO to administratively control arms, give licenses to own arms and trade in arms. It is also true that the military was involved in this exercise. The security and defense forces were assigned to recover arms from those who had no authorization, while Military justice took charge of sanctions placed on those involved.”

Our expert reaffirmed that Cameroon is a signatory to the ATT. Cameroon embraced law N° 2016/015 of the 14th of December 2016 defining arms and munitions in Cameroon thereby fixing a new categorization of arms in Cameroon. Contrary to the decree of 1973, the new law of December 2016 introduced other categories such as weapons of war and non-conventional arms as clearly seen in cases such as nuclear arms. These weapons of war are forbidden to enter or leave the country unless authorized by the President of the Republic. Talking about arms used for hunting, traditional ceremonies, sports etc, they are governed at the level of the DO’s office. Our expert explains.

“Now concerning sanctions placed on those who are against laws governing arms in Cameroon, The Military Tribunals have that duty. The condition to stock and conserve these arms is also given to the said authorities according to the law”.

TATA DULAFE VALERY

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