By: Wonder Guchu
Police are investigating arms that went missing from the central depot in Windhoek last week.
Deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi confirmed to The Villager that arms are missing, and an investigation is ongoing.
“The Central Depot was not broken into. However, it was discovered that it was open, and there are arms and ammunition missing,” she said on Saturday.
Police sources told The Villager that there could be up to 90 firearms that went missing from the central depot on Wednesday.
According to the sources, the head of the central depot deputy commission Louisa Kafidi, who keeps the keys to the safe, was appointed recently.
In August this year, the Namibian police offered a one-month amnesty to citizens who have unlicensed guns.
Home affairs minister Albert Kawana said the amnesty day is enshrined in the African Union’s agenda for silencing guns in the continent.
Kawana called on all those to surrender unlicensed firearms, armaments or ammunition.
According to Kawana, any person who complied would be exempted from prosecution during September, the amnesty month.
“After the expiry of the amnesty period, the police will show no mercy in apprehending those who are in possession of unlicensed firearms, armaments or ammunition. We will ensure that they are successfully prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned,” he warned. “Namibia must continue to be a beacon of peace, safety and security. Therefore, the initiative is aimed at achieving this objective.”
Indeed, the citizens heeded this call. In October, Kawana announced that 570 illegal firearms were surrendered to the police during September.
Of the 570 guns, Omusati Region brought in the highest number of 135 illegal firearms, while Khomas had 111, and Oshana with 88. The police also collected 24,334 ammunition.
The African Union came up with the idea of the gun amnesty month during the Extraordinary session of the African Union Assembly of the Heads of State and Government held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 6 December 2020
The session recommitted implementing the AU Master Roadmap of practical steps for Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020, extending the African Amnesty month for another period of 10 years with a review after every two years.
Police Inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga is on record saying that Namibia is committed to fully implementing the vision and aspirations of the AU Agenda 2063.
Home affairs deputy minister Daniel Kashikola told the National Assembly in 2009 that there were more than 200 000 firearms in civilian hands in Namibia.
Kashikola said, when he introduced and motivated the Arms and Ammunition Bill amendment, that cases of stolen or lost firearms have increased at an alarming rate, with 80 per cent of those reported stolen or lost.
The deputy minister said the number was high because of the mechanism of firearms control, particularly the applications for a licence to possess firearms.
“To be specific, the Performance Audit Report on the issuance and control of firearm licences in Namibia presented by Auditor General to Parliament recommended to our ministry to develop a policy to determine the competency and fitness level of firearm owners before the insurance of licences, a subject which can no longer be prolonged,” he said.
According to Kashikola, in the third quarter of 2018/19, the deputy minister said the ministry dealt with 4 870 applications to possess firearms, a slight decrease compared to 2017/18, which was 5 424.
“It was observed with concern that 50 per cent of the applications were for handguns (pistol and revolvers) with the justification for the demand of handguns being self-defence,” Kashikola said.