The UN estimates that there are more than five hundred million small arms in circulation around the world. More than seventy million of those are estimated to be AK 47’s.
The AK 47 is incredibly iconic weapon that is loved, revered and fetishized in Africa. You can find them in the hands of criminal gangs in Johannesburg, government thugs in Zimbabwe, bloodthirsty M23 rebels in Congo, Somali pirates off the coast of East Africa and maniacs like Joseph Kony in Uganda. In a strange twist of fate a Ukrainian ship hijacked by Somali pirates was found to be carrying ten thousand AK47’s bound for Sudan.
From South African president Jacob Zuma singing “Lethu Mshiniwam” (“get me my machine gun”) to adoring supporters at political rallies, to Charles Taylor toting an AK 47 in war torn Monrovia, even Mozambique’s flag features a hammer and sickle style emblem with an AK47. Yes, the AK 47 is part of the country’s coat of arms and is stamped on its flags and passports.