Deadline looms for gun amnesty
Windhoek – Namibians who are in possession of illegal firearms, ammunition or armaments have only ten days left to hand them over to the Namibian Police without being persecuted as the deadline of November 18 looms.
The Inspector General of the Namibian Police Sebastian Ndeitunga has urged the public to approach the nearest police station to surrender the weapons on numerous occasions, after the police in August offered amnesty to people who had illegal firearms and ammunition in their possession.
The Namibian Police first offered amnesty to people who had illegal firearms and ammunition in 1992 just two years after the country gained its independence.
However, not all people complied with this call as some are still being found with such weapons while others are choosing to dump them due to fear of persecution. The extension of the amnesty period was necessitated by the amount of ammunition found dumped in various areas across the country.
Ndeitunga said all police regional commanders and police stations are already informed and they are waiting for people to hand in the firearms with no threat of persecution. A national search for such weapons will be undertaken after the period of amnesty ends on November 18.
He said that a decision was taken by Cabinet to publish a Government Gazette notice authorising an amnesty for the surrender of all illegal firearms to the authorities.
The period of surrendering these weapons in terms of Government Gazette No. 165 already started from August 18 and will continue to November 18.
Ndeitunga said that the government is concerned about the proliferation of illegal weapons and ammunition that have been discovered by police during operations conducted nationwide.
According to him, the reason why there are still so many illegal firearms in Namibia is because of the Angolan and South African war conflict when war materiel were acquired by many citizens. He said from 2013 to 2015 police have confiscated 560 illegal firearms.
It is not clear how many illegal weapons have been confiscated this year already as many of these weapons might still be tied up with investigations in court cases.
The police conducted extensive operations earlier this year on illegal firearms and arrested certain individuals and farmers who were found in possession of machine guns, ammunition and war materiel.
He stressed that under the Arms and Ammunitions Act, the possession of machine guns by members of the public is prohibited.
These types of weapons, Ndeitunga said, are only allowed to be in the possession of the Namibian Police, the Namibian Defence Force and in some cases Correctional Services.
Ndeitunga stressed that they are, however, very concerned about the increasing numbers of firearms as these dangerous weapons are out in the public domain and pose a threat to the safety and security of citizens.
“Illegal firearms in irresponsible hands are a great concern and are used in violent crimes,” said Ndeitunga.
Ndeitunga especially urged farmers to hand in illegal firearms, adding that there has been a problem with the farming community and them having illegal weapons and war materiel hidden on farms.