June 13, 2002

Arms trade across Mozambican border decreasing

Operations Rachel, the eight-year-old joint Mozambican-South African project formed to eliminate the flow of illegal weapons across the border to South African crime networks, has been such a success that the price of a smuggled AK-47 is said to have increased from about R100 seven years ago to as much as R10 000 now.

Formed in 1995 as a bilateral intelligence-driven co-operation agreement on arms destruction between the SAPS and the Mozambican police, Operations Rachel has discovered and destroyed massive amounts of arms and ammunition, including more than 4.000 weapons in the latest operation.

According to the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, it is the biggest and most successful operation of its kind with the arms found and destroyed exceeding any other amount captured and destroyed in gun buy-backs or other collection operations anywhere in the world. South Africans can be rightly proud of the unheralded 21 policemen who are performing such a vital role far from their homes and families. The project, using 4x4 vehicles provided by Delta Motor Corporation, is also a perfect example of what can be achieved through public and private sector co-operation. (Pretoria News)

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