The Namibian Police (Nampol) chief Lieutenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga is not satisfied with the number of firearms and ammunition that were relinquished voluntarily by both lawful and illegal owners during a three-month long pardon period that has lapsed last Thursday.
Ndeitunga told The Villager that he expected more than the slightly over 900 firearms that were handed over during the amnesty period on illegal firearms, ammunitions and explosives declared by the Minister of Safety and Security (MSS).
Ndeitunga remains convinced that there are still more illegal firearms in the possession of people that needs to be handed over to the law enforcement agency to reduce the number of gun related crimes in the country.
“To be honest I am not happy with the number of firearms that were handed over. I was expecting more firearms than what was handed over and I urged every Namibian who has an unlicensed firearm to come forward and hand them over to the police as the amnesty period has been extended to next year,” Ndeitunga said.
The Safety and Security Ministry extended the amnesty period with an additional three months to entice more people in possession of especially unlicensed firearms to hand them over to the police.
He noted that the existing laws pertaining to firearm possession will be amended in future to ensure for strict control on firearms.
Namibians have so far handed over 925 firearms to the Namibian Police (Nampol) altogether during the amnesty period set by the Ministry of Safety and Security (MSS) that ran from 18 August to 16 November this year before the latest extension was effected.
According to a report released by Nampol 925 firearms, 44 073 ammunitions and 66 explosive where handed over to NamPol offices in all 14 regions altogether.
The report indicates in Khomas region recorded the highest number of firearms handed over at 694, followed by the Otjozondjupa region with 50 and Omusati region at 45.
The Otjizondjupa region recoded the highest number of rounds of ammunition handed in at 20 470, followed by Khomas 14 117 and Oshikoto 4 099.
Altogether 66 explosive were handed over, 45 in Otjizondjupa region and 21 in Khomas region.
The Villager understands that 34.2% of items handed over were surrendered by owners including museums who are no longer interested to keep them, followed by 30.4% of people who inherited such items.
However, it is imperative to indicate that 19.8% came from people who were given such items by the previous government and other reasons given as to how the items came in their possession was that the items were found or picked up in the bush or on farms.
According to the report provided by Nampol, altogether 237 people have taken part in the exercise and ranged from 81 owners who voluntary surrendered their weapos to those that inherited the weapons at 72, people who received them from the previous colonial government 47, found in the bushes 18, found on farms 19, collectors 2 and hunter 1.
The Villager understands that all firearms were verified with the Firearms Data System. Of all the firearms handed in, only twenty-four (24) firearms were found registered on the system while the rest are illegal (unlicensed).
According to the spokesperson of Nampol, Slogan Matheus, firearms that were handed over will be destroyed.
He could, however, not quantify the worth of firearms and ammunition that were handed over to the police.
“The firearms will be prepared for destruction. It is not readily possible to determine the cost of all the firearms, ammunitions or explosives handed in, because some of the items that were handed in are very old, some were manufactured long time ago and are not in stock again in order to verify their prices. It is only on a few items that one can readily determine the costs. That is our anticipation, that the lesser the public is armed, the less firearm related crimes will be,” Matheus said.
He added that Nampol is still convinced that there could still be illegal firearms out there, and are committed to root them out, hence the extension of the amnesty by an additional three months to provide the public still with an opportunity to voluntary surrender illegal firearms, ammunitions and explosives.