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By Janet Kasonde and Mwape Kasote

Zambia Police Service has retrieved a total of 143 firearms from members of the public during the African Union Amnesty month programme. The weapons were collected through the amnesty programme, obsolete stockpiles as well as recoveries from crime situations.

Acting Home Affairs Minister Given Lubinda who is also Justice Minister Called upon members of the public to surrender unlicensed and illicit firearms to the Zambia Police Service and other law enforcement agencies.

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The Minister said that in accordance with the Africa Amnesty Month people who surrender illicit arms voluntarily will not be charged, questioned or arrested instead they will receive K500 token of appreciation. “Take advantage of this amnesty period to surrender illicit weapons so that you are not found in conflict with the law”, said Lubinda.

The Minister was speaking during the symbolic destruction of surrendered weapons at Police Service Headquarters in Lusaka where he announced that the government had extended the amnesty period for another 30 days from the end of September to 31st October, 2018.

He said that the Zambia Police Service and other law enforcement officers will continue to confiscate illegal weapons and firearms from members of the public which are likely to be used in criminal activities. He further stated that events such as this were not only important to Zambia but also the African Union member states who are committed to eliminating the proliferation of illicit weapons and firearms on the continent by 2020.

Meanwhile Acting Head of Defence and Security Division Africa Union Ms. Einas Mohammed said the destruction of illegal firearms is a testimony that Zambia is committed to ending violence in the region. She said the Africa Union in 2017 declared the month of September of every year as Africa Amnesty month in which members of the public are asked to surrender illegal firearms to the Police and other law enforcement agencies so that communities are safe and secure.

And Inspector General of Police Mr. Kakoma Kanganja assured members of the public that no one would be arrested for surrendering the illegal firearms to any Police station or Post.

“Therefore all those with firearms that belonged to deceased relatives and family members are advised to engage Police in respective localities where they may be required to deposit the firearms,” he said.

Mr. Kanganja said the Zambia Police wants to see that communities are safe and secure for social and economic development by ensuring that all illegal firearms were destroyed.

He observed that control of small arms and light weapons is important as it will prevent arms from landing into wrong hands mostly criminals who pose a danger to peace in the country.

He warned all those who will not surrender illegal weapons that they risk being prosecuted as doing so constitutes a serious criminal offence.

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