Plans to better secure Basra underway
Iraqi interior minister announces weapons buyback program in Basra
BASRA — Iraq’s interior minister confirmed on Monday that authorities have developed a buyback program that would allow gun owners to register light weapons on the ‘Ur’ e-government platform and hand them in at local police stations as officials look to stregthen security mechanisms across the country.
Minister Abdul Amir Al-Shammari spoke at length during an inauguration ceremony for the North Basra Police Directorate.
Al-Shammari highlighted previous incidents of violence and tribal disputes as the impetus for opening new police departments, emergency services, and traffic directorates in the governorate’s northern districts.
Local officials in Basra have struggled with organized crime ranging from drug trade to illicit cross-border trade. As Iraq’s most southern governorate, Basra sits at the convergence of the country’s only sea port, eastern border with Iran, and southern border with Kuwait. Officials, however, have been on board with providing resources to strengthen security and stability in the region.
The minister noted that leaders plan to meet with local judges, tribal elders, and community groups to further strengthen cooperation.
An expansion to the buyback program, Al-Shammari said, would have the state allocate one billion dinars to each governorate across the country to purchase medium and heavy weapons from owners. That initiative would continue through the end of 2024 in an effort to eliminate arms proliferation, he added.