State confronts guns nightmare in restive north as locals resist

What you need to know:

  • Officials are not sure how many civilians have police-issue firearms because no one kept records.

  • And, since they are not under the control of security chiefs, there is fear that they could turn out to be a deadly militia in the volatile north.
  • Security insiders believe that these armed men, for whom the only qualification for recruitment was attainment of 18 years and volunteering for service, could be the main source of insecurity in the region.

The government has, for more than 50 years, been giving guns and ammunition to police reservists and homeguards but does not know how many weapons it has issued owing to poor record-keeping.

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