[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 6 December, 2003, 09:36 GMT
Gun Traffic
Weapons store
Many illegally traded guns come from past and present war zones
Correspondent was broadcast on Sunday, 7 December, 2003 at 1900 GMT on BBC Two.

About half a million people around the world are shot dead every year with illegally traded guns; most of the victims are civilians.

With the number of guns in the world increasing by at least 8 million a year, more and more are getting into the hands of British and other European criminals.

Illicit international gun trafficking is soaring, and many of these arms originate from current and former war zones such as the Balkans.

Correspondent reports on how huge numbers of guns are being trafficked into the hands of criminals, rebel groups and conflict zones around the world.

Tracking traffickers

The programme shows child soldiers in West Africa with brand new Kalashnikov assault rifles.

Reporter David Akinsanya traces these weapons back to the factory in Serbia that made them.

He tracks down the Belgrade arms broker responsible for shipping these guns in breach of a UN arms embargo.

Liberian youth
Serbian-made weapons have ended up in Liberia
He also reports on how guns stolen from military stores in Albania were trafficked in huge numbers and fuelled the wars in neighbouring Kosovo and Macedonia.

He meets arms dealers in northern Albania, next to the Kosovan border, who still control vast illegal weapon stores.

After seeing samples of their weapons he visits members of a group in Kosovo which is still receiving their supplies.

This group, the Albanian National Army, which has been named as a terrorist group by K-For (the Nato-led international force responsible for establishing and maintaining security in Kosovo), is threatening to break the peace.

Real WMDs

Correspondent: Gun Traffic highlights a worrying lack of control over arms dealing.

The programme discovers a new twist: guns are now being made specifically for criminal groups around Europe, including Britain.

The world's attention may be focused on nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in countries such as Iraq and North Korea.

But gun trafficking is still growing and gun crime in Britain alone has doubled in the last 10 years.

Are illegally traded guns the real weapons of mass destruction?

Reporter: David Akinsanya
Producer/director: Philip Wright
Assistant producer: Darius Bazargan
Editor: Karen O'Connor

Balkan gun traffickers target UK
05 Dec 03  |  Correspondent
Have your say
04 Dec 03  |  Correspondent
Hunting the illegal arms traffickers
06 Dec 03  |  Correspondent


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific