ASIA/LEBANON - Maronite Bishops: urgent measures against the proliferation of private weapons

Beirut - The proliferation of private weapons among civilians worries the Maronite Bishops who call upon the Lebanese authorities to counteract it with effective measures, without guaranteeing any tolerance and political "coverage" regarding a phenomenon that poses an objective risk factor for peaceful coexistence in the Country of Cedars. The Maronite Bishops expressed their concerns about the spread of individual weapons among the civilians during their monthly meeting, held on Wednesday, July 5, in the patriarchal Seat in Berkeley under the presidency of Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai. This phenomenon is also linked to the rise of common crime, an alarming data for a society that seems to have "no moral and legal restraint". In the final statement sent to Agenzia Fides, the Bishops also stigmatize the unprecedented increase in corruption, and at the same time pay tribute to the efforts made by President Michel Aoun to instill "a new impetus in the Country and at a government level".
On Wednesday, July 5, the issue of the widespread of arms among civilians and especially among Syrian refugees was also at the centre of discussions within the government. In past days, most of the 80 recently people arrested had been released. In this regard, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk had argued that such releases had taken place as a result of "political pressures", prompting the energetic reaction of the Minister of Justice, Salim Jreissati.
What is extremely worrying in the Lebanese society is, above all, the presence of weapons within camps hosting refugees who fled Syria. Last Friday, the Lebanese army carried out a series of operations inside the refugee camps in al Nour and al Qariya, in the Ersal region, at the border with Syria, where there were also Jihadist orientation groups. During these military operations, according to sources of the armed forces, about 300 people were arrested, and an attack on Lebanese soldiers was carried out by five suicide bombers, injuring seven soldiers and provoking the death of a child. Agenzia Fides, 6/7/2017)