Small Arms in Eastern Congo - A Survey on the Perception of Insecurity

The proliferation of small arms has assumed frightening proportions in Eastern Congo, alongside with wars of rebellion and other related phenomena such as banditry; operations by armed Congolese and foreign groups; ethnic strife; poor discipline among the security forces and the illegal exploitation of natural resources. This toxic combination has created a spiral of poverty and inequality. Large numbers of civilians are now armed, either as a means of self-protection or for acts of plunder.
For many years, the UNDP has been fighting the scourge of small arms in the DRC. It is in this context that it commissioned the Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP) and the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) to carry out a survey. Over ten thousand households were polled in the provinces of North and South Kivu and Maniema, as well as in the districts of Ituri (Eastern Province) and Tanganyika (Katanga), where scores of discussion groups were also held.
The first part of the book analyses the security context of the region investigated: recent conflict developments; the sharp increase in the number of armed groups; legislative issues; action taken by the UN and Congolese government and prospects for disarmament. The second part contains the results from the survey - focusing on weapons held by civilians – and provides a wealth of previously unpublished information on small arms: where does demand for them come from? Whose possession are they in? Where are they hidden? What are they used for? How are they perceived and what impact do they have?
The whole region is subject to the most scrupulous examination. This meticulous study should undoubtedly help towards elaborating future policies for reducing armed violence in the Eastern Congo…and even further afield!
The book was edited by Georges Berghezan, a researcher at GRIP and Xavier Zeebroek, the organisation’s director.