Disarmament in Mozambique

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The United Nations' failure to effect meaningful disarmament during its ONUMOZ operation in Mozambique has had serious consequences, especially for South Africa. For ONUMOZ to have disarmed all armed individuals would have been an impossible task, but the weapons it did obtain and which were earmarked for decommissioning could have been destroyed. ONUMOZ's failure was linked to its weak mandate regarding disarmament. It did not spell out what disarmament should entail, and the criteria for its success; disarmament was not clearly distinguished from demobilisation; the UN failed to provide the political and financial resources to ensure that weapons were properly collected and decommissioned. Post-UN disarmament in Mozambique has been more successful, a reflection of growing confidence in peace at local levels and in senior policy-making circles. Since 1995, the old weapons caches have ceased to pose a serious threat to internal security. Ironically, it is South Africa that suffered most in the end, as large numbers of light weapons flowed out of Mozambique. However, joint police operations, and a change in market demand for guns in South Africa, has seen a decline in the arms trade from Mozambique. An influx of new weapons, not the rusting arms caches, now pose the main security threat in Mozambique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-205
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Southern African Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1 The author would like to thank the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Department of War Studies, King's College and the British American Security Information Council for supporting this research.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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