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Arms smuggling still a problem between PHL, Indonesia — official

Indonesia’s foreign minister, in Manila for an official visit, has expressed concern over the continuing smuggling of firearms between Indonesia and the Philippines, fearing that some of these weapons may end in the hands of terrorists.

“Illicit transfer of firearms is certainly one issue that we're keen to address,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters, adding that the problem was among the many issues that he raised with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario in their meeting.

The visiting Indonesian official feared that these loose firearms may end up in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf, an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organization in southern Philippines that carried out bombing and kidnapping operations in the past.

The Philippines accounts for the proliferation of over 1.1 million small arms and light weapons out of the estimated 640 million illegal firearms worldwide, according to a Geneva-based research center.

The Graduate Institute of International Studies said loose firearms are responsible for over half a million deaths each year, including 300,000 in armed conflicts such as in the Philippines.

Locally, Philippine National Police (PNP) records show that there are 1,110,372 loose firearms all over the country, with the biggest concentration of unlicensed firearms estimated at 315,128 in National Capital Region (NCR), including 263,457 un-renewed licenses.

The second highest number of loose firearms placed at 114,189 is in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Police said groups in the ARMM have in their possession 5,179 assorted firearms and criminal elements have 1,440 loose firearms. — KBK, GMA News
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December 14, 2011 9:34pm

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