9 Feb 2012

Illegal guns and ammunition melted in Jamaica

5:36 am on 9 February 2012

About 2000 illegal firearms have been melted in Jamaica, as part of a programme to reduce gun crime.

The pistols and revolvers were thrown into a furnace in the capital, Kingston, watched by police and officials from the government and the UN.

Officials said about half a ton of ammunition would also be destroyed on Wednesday.

Another 2000 firearms are due to be melted in the next few days.

The BBC reports Jamaica has one of the highest rates of gun crime in the world. Correspondents say criminal gangs are often as well armed as the security forces.

Many of the guns had been seized in police operations. However, old firearms from police, military and prison personnel were also destroyed to ensure they did not end up in the hands of criminals.