AFP Bosnians offered lottery prizes for weapons
TRIBUNE DE GENEVE (SUISSE)
06 novembre 2006 15:59
Bosnians offered lottery prizes for weapons
SARAJEVO, Nov 6, 2006 (AFP)
A lottery was launched Monday offering Bosnians prizes for handing in to
authorities any weapons they still have left over from the country's war.
Motor scooters and kitchen appliances were among the items up for grabs in
the competition, which has been organised by the United Nations Development
"According to our survey ... an incredible number of 1,000 deaths per year
happens through the abuse and mishandling of small arms and weapons in
Bosnia," said UNDP country representative Stefan Priesner.
"That means that a lot more people die from weapons than from land mines,"
"We know that 19 percent of the civilian population possesses weapons and
most of them are possessed illegally," he said, adding estimates put their
number at 500,000.
"This is a huge security problem."
Cash-strapped Bosnians wishing to stake a claim for the lottery prizes have
until December 5 to hand in weapons.
Since 1998, peacekeepers have collected about 52,000 small arms, 38,500 land
mines, over 225,000 hand grenades, about 15.5 million rounds of ammunition,
33 tonnes of explosives -- and even a couple of tanks.
Authorities say there is an estimated 350,000 tonnes of surplus ammunition
in Bosnia that would take more than 20 years to eradicate.
Military analysts in Bosnia believe many citizens still hide weapons in
their homes out of fear of a new war.