Zimbabwe flooded with unregistered firearms

Zimbabwe flooded with unregistered firearms
Published: 29 January 2012 (3071 Views)
The number of unregistered firearms in circulation in Zimbabwe has significantly gone up in the last few months with police suspecting a tight syndicate of both locals and foreigners to be smuggling the weapons into the country.

Last year at least 50 offences involving firearms that included AK-47, FN, 303 rifles and pistols were committed around the country.

Police, however, suspect that the majority of the guns used in the spate of armed robberies were being smuggled from neighbouring countries.

The South African police have since 2004 lost more than 20 000 guns and some of these weapons are believed to have crossed the border into Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

As a result, national spokesperson (Criminal Investigation Department) Inspector Augustine Zimbili said the police were now on high alert.

"Our homicide department only recovered two guns from the spate of armed crimes that were committed around Harare.

"We suspect some of these criminals are using guns they would have stolen from people who applied and were certified to get guns,’’ said Inspector Zimbili.

"When these armed crimes are committed using a registered weapon, we can scientifically trace the owner. The challenge we have is that in most cases these criminals delete the serial numbers on the guns, making it difficult for us to know the exact origins of the weapons."

Inspector Zimbili, however, could not give the exact number of civilians with registered guns in Zimbabwe. A spate of armed crimes were committed last year around the country, including bank robberies, company and house robberies with the criminals reportedly using heavy weaponry.

According to police records,  last year Bulawayo became a home ground for criminals with the force believing that the weapons were being brought from South Africa.

- SM

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