High incidence of small arms smuggling | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 21, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 21, 2009


High incidence of small arms smuggling

Border security forces on both sides need to mount vigil

AN investigative report in this paper on Thursday brought to light a rising trend in smuggling of firearms of variegated types in the country's southwestern region. The extent to which the clandestine activities are taking place is quite worrying. Arms traffickers are said to be active in at least 29 points in six border districts such as Kushtia, Meherpur, Chuadanga, Jhenidah, Jessore and Satkhira.
There is no gainsaying that the points through which the arms infiltrate are known and so are the operators. The law enforcement personnel on both sides are supposed to remain aware of the clandestine activities. So, their determined efforts to combat trafficking through effective vigil and action are the first prerequisite to containing the menace that has security implications, particularly for the country at the receiving end.
Serious watchers of the scenario point out that in order to escape detection, the smugglers avoid trafficking in bulk; usually this is done in piecemeal. Some of the arms perhaps infiltrate in knocked down conditions. These are put together in the interior before being dispatched to sale points. So, there are quite a few stages involved in the exercise including the arms or ammunition changing hands allowing for effective vigilance and eventual detection of the acts of crimes.
Ammunition is something that cannot be manufactured through any improvisation; this has to originate from standard manufacturers bearing distinct labels. A great deal of sophistication is required in their manufacture. If, therefore, smuggling of ammunition can be stopped, the small arms themselves will be of no use. We have to be keenly watchful of any intrusion of bomb making material or explosive accessories because these can endanger internal security a great deal.
It is obvious that the situation calls for more than routine border surveillance by the BDR and the BSF. On the specific issue of containing small arms smuggling, there should be intelligence sharing and cooperation between both sides, especially along the border districts. Arms infiltration can be effectively dealt with if it is addressed as cross-border crime.

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