PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has granted a blanket amnesty to unlicensed firearm holders, including illegally smuggled guns in the wake of increased violent gun-related crimes in the country.
In a statement, police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said the amnesty was in line with Article 12 of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Protocol on the control of firearms, ammunition and related materials.
Nyathi said the amnesty covered anyone in possession of any unlicensed firearm, including those which had been smuggled into the country.
He said the weapons should be surrendered before September 30 at any police station without any questions asked.
“No criminal charges will be preferred to members of the public during this period as long as one complies with the provisions of the presidential amnesty. The amnesty also covers anyone who is in possession of any weapon which was smuggled or illegally brought into the country,” Nyathi said.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police takes this opportunity to inform the public that physical checks and verifications will be conducted on all residential and business premises where illegal firearms are suspected to be.”
Nyathi added: “Police have also observed that some licensed firearm holders are no longer renewing their firearm certificates or even notifying the authorities about the change in residential or business addresses to enable constant checks to be made by the police on the status of the firearms.”
Last week, Home Affairs deputy minister Ruth Maboyi said illegal firearms were finding their way into the country for use in armed robberies.
Zimbabwe has been witnessing an increase in gun-related crimes including robberies.
Reports indicate that many of the robberies were committed by serving or retired soldiers and police officers.
Latest figures released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency show that cases of armed robbery rose from 214 in 2016 to 1 000 last year.