Military munitions storage increasingly unstable

The growing number of accidental explosions in military arms and ammunition storage facilities across Africa has highlighted the need for minimum standards in stockpile management in the continent, says a South Africa-based think-tank.



"These ammunition stockpiles pose a significant threat and have enduring consequences in vulnerable and fragile societies, and as such need to be adequately managed and/or disposed of by making use of the correct mechanisms and best practice guidelines," the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) noted in the latest of a series of reports on munitions storage.



"Arms and ammunition stockpiles are becoming increasingly unstable due to age and, in many cases, unintentional mismanagement," Ben Coetzee, Senior Researcher at the ISS Arms Management Programme, told IRIN.



"Since 2007 several explosions occurred in Mozambique and at least one in Tanzania, resulting in hundreds of injuries and many deaths. Seen in this light, there is an urgent need to re-evaluate the current principles of ammunition stockpile management."



In the past decade there have also been accidental explosions in military storage facilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Guinea, Nigeria, Angola and Sierra Leone.



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