The Sahel is home to a number of marginalized borderlands—such as Libya’s southern border region—characterized by the movement and activities of various armed groups, the absence of strong state institutions, and the prevalence of disparaged communities. Potentially, the combination of these factors makes the subregion more exposed to risk and individuals raised in such borderlands can be especially vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremist groups.
The roles of women in arms offences have been looked at from many perspectives, including violent extremism prevention, women offenders, political activism, or transnational crime in relation to drug trafficking and human trafficking. However, the roles of women in arms trafficking have rarely been considered through a small arms lens. Our report Missing or Unseen?
The roles of women in arms trafficking have been addressed in broader studies focusing on issues like violent extremism prevention, women offenders, political activism, and transnational crime in relation to drug trafficking and human trafficking. However, there has been little research on this subject from a specific small arms control perspective.
'Despite an unprecedented global campaign to curtail the illicit proliferation of man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS), armed groups continue to acquire and use these weapons at an alarming rate. The Small Arms Survey has identified reports of illicit MANPADS in 32 countries and territories on five continents since 2011. These reports include imagery of dozens of advanced (third and fourth generation) systems acquired by non-state actors ranging from pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine to ethnic armed groups in Myanmar.
Ammunition diverted from legal to illicit markets is a central concern in small arms control, but its impact is understudied. A new Briefing Paper from the Small Arms Survey and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs explores how authorities can go about better monitoring the role it plays in violent crime.
'The conflict in Ukraine is raising concerns about arms proliferation risks in the country and broader region, present and future. Our previous research on Ukraine provides insight into how these dynamics played out following the 2014–15 conflict in eastern Ukraine...'
This report documents the findings of the first ever national assessment of small arms prevalence and impacts in Nigeria. The National Small Arms and Light Weapons Survey (NSALWS), implemented in 2016 by Nigeria’s Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM), was conducted to better understand the prevalence, proliferation, perception, use and impacts of small arms in Nigeria. The Small Arms Survey supported PRESCOM on survey methodology and analysis, and with the provision of training on survey methods specific to small arms.
'Eolika, a Guyana-flagged cargo vessel, had already been detained in the port of Senegalese capital, Dakar due to 'inconsistent' declarations. Authorities in the West African nation then searched the ship, seizing three containers of Italian manufactured ammunition worth an estimated US$5 million. According to initial accounts, port authorities in La Spezia authorised the shipment, which was reportedly headed to the Dominican Republic.
'Agence France Presse estimates that in Burkina Faso alone, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have killed nearly 300 civilians and soldiers since 2018. The Small Arms Survey documents the trafficking of IED components in the Sahel and West Africa, having undertaken fieldwork in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, and Niger, to date. By considering the regional dimensions of the trafficking in question, the aim is to be able to establish an evidence base for developing a regional response...'
The increasingly sophisticated arsenals of guided light weapons held by non-state actors pose an international security threat. These include man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) and anti-tank guided weapons (ATGWs)—systems operable by a single user or a small crew, where the weapons’ missiles are either manually targeted or self-guided after launch. Such systems have been used by armed groups to attack commercial airlines, military aircraft, and governmental targets, as well as to degrade military and peacekeeping operations.