Yemen ranks second in weapons possession, losing out to the US

Published July 31st, 2012 - 09:31 GMT
Sheikh Almarwani campaigns against revenge killings in Yemen
Sheikh Almarwani campaigns against revenge killings in Yemen

Yemen is ranked the second highest country in the world for weapons possession, with 61 weapons per 100 civilians, according to a 2007 survey by Small Arms Survey reported on this week by The Guardian.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime published in its annual crime survey that 11.5 million is the average total of all civilian-owned firearms.

There are about 52 million weapons in Yemen, based on the first field survey done by the European Union and Dar Al-Salam Organization. The survey was done in a number of Yemeni governorates, including Abyan, Lahajj and Al-Jawof, according to Sheikh Abdurrahman Al-Marwani, the head of Dar Al-Salam Organization.

After the 2011 political uprising, weapons spread throughout the whole country, Al-Marwani said.

Weapons merchants are considered the most important source for weapons sales in Yemen, especially in its wide-spreading selling centers, which provide a variety of weapon across the country, as in Jahafa in Khawlan and in al-Talh in Saada.   "The Russian medium guns, Chinese guns and German guns are the most popular kinds spread among civilians," he said.

There is no gun control in Yemen, especially after 2011’s political changes, despite the statements from governmental facilities regarding prohibiting holding weapons, Al-Marwani said.

"The influence of sheikhs increased, especially under the weak role that the government played in the country, which gave the chance for weapons to spread strongly in all parts of the country," he said.

Yemenis have owned weapons for many years, but the risk increases in the absence of law and government, lack of security, banditry, lack of employment and lack of essential services such as water and electricity, said Mohsen Khossrof, a retired brigadier-general.

"We are in a country that is ruled now by traditions, not law," he said.


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