HARARE – Police are set to raid targeted homes and business premises in search of illegally held firearms commonly linked to rampant violent crimes involving use of the dangerous weapons in the country.
This follows the Friday expiry of the 53-day amnesty declared August by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on all illegal gun owners to voluntarily hand over the weapons without any prosecution.
Police announced Thursday the amnesty netted 545 firearms and 260 rounds of ammunition since the start.
The number however excluded any weapons that may have been surrendered between the period the statement was issued and 30 September, the date set as the official end of the amnesty.
“On 29/09/22, seven firearms were voluntarily surrendered to the Police throughout the country on the operation, ‘Firearms Amnesty’, bringing the cumulative figures to 545,” police posted on their official Twitter handle Friday.
In a statement, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi urged those who were still in possession of unlicensed firearms to make use of the window period.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police therefore reminds the public that the amnesty is ending on 30th September 2022.
“Police applauds members of the public who took heed of the amnesty to voluntarily surrender firearms and comply with the police verification exercise,” he said.
Nyathi said police will soon conduct an operation targeting those who did not surrender illegal weapons with criminal charges hanging over the heads of culprits.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police urges those who are yet to surrender the firearms to utilise the opportunity before criminal charges are preferred against anyone who will be found in possession of unlicensed firearms during the pending physical check exercise to be conducted by the police on all residential and business premises where illegal firearms are suspected to be kept or hidden.
“Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Republic Police implores all unlicensed firearm owners to visit local police stations and update their records in compliance with the Firearms Act Chapter 10.09,” Nyathi said.
Government extended the amnesty after finding that a lot of guns were “generally being held illegally by those with expired firearm licenses, members of gun clubs who are no longer active, farmers, hunters and individuals who may be no longer practicing, firearms holders who died and their guns are inherited by their relatives”.