What’s the price of a grenade vs a coke in the Central African Republic?

A Chinese-made grenade for sale in Bangui for just a dollar

A Chinese-made grenade for sale in Bangui for just a dollar

It was a piece on endonyms, a country’s own name for itself (in its own language) that made me think of the Central African Republic.”In Sango, the primary language of the Central African Republic, the country is called Ködörösêse Tî Bêafrîka,” wrote Mental Floss (check the piece out here). 

It made me wonder about the price of a grenade in the Central African Republic, relative to a coke. It’s been three months since there was this story – one of dozens – that reported the multiplicity of weapons swirling around the former French colony. It was all based on a comprehensive report prepared by Britain’s Conflict Armament Research group for the European Union. And it found that shockingly, devastatingly and cripplingly, CAR’s largely subsistence economy seemed well able to afford limitless amounts of grenades (from China or Bulgaria), mortars (from Sudan), rocket launchers (from Iran), shotgun rounds (from Spain and Cameroon) and bullets (from Britain, Belgium or the Czech Republic).

The report said: “Type 82-2 hand grenades are among the most widespread military item in CAR”. And a Bloomberg story from February, said that “people often carry the bombs as nonchalantly as Europeans hold mobile phones.”

Someone should head down to Bangui and buy a coke and look around for a grenade at the same time.