Government in firearms tracing exercise
Homeland Security Minister Ken Zikhale Ng’oma has announced plans to start a national tracing exercise of firearms and weapons which were illegally obtained.
Ng’oma said the exercise comes at a time the country has registered a spate of armed robberies, particularly in major cities.
Speaking in Mzuzu, after addressing people at a political rally, the minister claimed that some political leaders are behind the spate of criminal activities.
“There is a new sheriff in town and that is me. I am here to deal with people who are creating all these problems. Some people deliberately plan to distabilise the peace and tranquility that people are enjoying in the country.
“… if you are one of them, just surrender the firearms because, soon, we will have an operation. We will visit every house in the country to trace all illegal firearms and weapons and we will confiscate them because this is what is leading to these robberies. Some of these people are also harbouring irregular immigrants. Stop it because we will smoke you out,” he warned.
This would not be the first time the country has undertaken such as exercise, as the recent one was done in 2018.
The exercise was aimed at addressing illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in Malawi.
At that time, which is in 2018, it was estimated that 12,000 Malawians legally owned firearms.
Malawi publicly destroys illicit arms and the last exercise was done in 2017, when 2,700 firearms were burnt.
Malawi Police Service spokesperson Peter Kalaya said, since that time, they have not destroyed any firearm, emphasising that the exercise would be conducted this year.
Kalaya then encouraged people to surrender any unregistered firearm as keeping such is illegal in the country.
“Even for those whose parents, for example, owned firearms but passed on; those guns should be surrendered to us for transfer of ownership… we are hoping that, this year, we will destroy firearms which we have been confiscating over the years because the last time we did that was between 2017 and 2018. And we do that publicly,” he said.