Bosnians offered consumer goods to hand in weapons
Released : Tuesday, November 07, 2006 1:31 AM
Bosnia: A UN agency is using scooters, refrigerators and DVD players to
entice Bosnians to hand in weapons left over from the country's 1992-5 war.
Bosnians who give up firearms this month will be entered in a lottery
organised by the UN Development Programme, in which winners can claim prizes
including TVs and cookers.
"The aim is to increase the security of the citizens and raise the awareness
of the public of the danger of illegal possession of small arms," the UNDP
Hundreds of thousands of weapons are still in private hands in Bosnia, more
than a decade after a war that killed some 200,000 people and left the
country divided into a Muslim-Croat federation and a Serb-run region.
Since 1998, the government has offered an amnesty to people who turn in
illegal weapons, while peacekeepers have collected about 52,000 small
weapons, 38,500 land mines, more than 225,000 hand grenades, about 15.5
million rounds of ammunition, 33 tonnes of explosives and even a couple of
But officials say the country is still awash with weapons, and local media
frequently report on guns and grenades being used to settle business
disputes, inter-ethnic clashes and even domestic rows.
"Around 10,000 people have either been killed or committed suicide with
light weapons in Bosnia over the last 10 years, which is a terrifying toll,"
said parliamentary commission member Adem Huskic. Most of the 300,000
soldiers active at the end of the war, he estimated, kept at least one
weapon, and many families had hidden arms in case ethnic tension flared up
Mr Huskic estimated that there were still some 350,000 tonnes of illegally
held arms and ammunition in Bosnia, which would take more than 20 years to