Albania: Many firearms still unaccounted for; government hoping to collect them by 2024

Albania: Many firearms still unaccounted for; government hoping to collect them by 2024

Weapons and ammunition which were taken by the Albanian population during the 1997 turmoil are still in the hands of Albanian people, despite the three amnesties that the government has announced throughout the years to encourage the population to surrender them. However, they need to be surrendered by 2024.

This is at least part of the government’s plan to collect all of these weapons which have caused so much pain and sorrow for all of those families who lost their loved ones. The government is hoping that the strategy which it is planning to introduce will be an effective one. “Fire weapons and military ammunition in the hands of ordinary citizens continue to act as a real threat for their lives and public safety”, experts say in this strategy which is expected to be finalized by 2024.

“The excess amount should be reduced systematically. The aim is to destroy small weapons and their ammunition, by complying with environmental standards”, experts say. According to experts, although there’ve been three different amnesties so far, the number of weapons that have been surrendered voluntarily is still insignificant, which goes to show that the amount of firearms that Albanian citizens possess is still high and this can be considered as a real threat to public safety. Meanwhile, according to authorities, if left unchecked, small firearms could become a real threat not only for domestic security, but also a source of risk for the region and the European Union.

BALKANS

Three routes are being used for the traffic of weapons in the region; how is Albania involved?

“After analyzing the situation on the ground, we have come to the conclusion that firearms enter the Albanian territory from Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro. A part of the weapons that are smuggled in are manufactured in European countries (pistols). Another part of firearms along with explosives come from Montenegro, while traffickers from Kosovo and Macedonia are mainly responsible for smuggling converted firearms”. This is another interesting finding made by experts in the strategy that the government is planning to introduce to collect illegal firearms which are still in the hands of the population. Meanwhile, the document also states that traffickers from Greece and Italy seem to be responsible for smuggling in weapons which have been taken in army depots during the 1997 turmoil in Albania, where the country was in the brink of civil war.

RETROSPECTIVE

How many weapons and ammunitions were taken from the army depots in 1997?

839.3 million ammunition units were taken from the army depots in 1997 along with 16 million explosives and 549.775 firearms. These are the figures that government experts supply. According to them, by 2005, the Albanian population had surrendered 118 million ammunition units, 1.53 million explosives and 22.918 firearms nationwide, but this accounted for just 40% of the total amount that had been taken from the army depots.