Tanzania:Firearms verification exercise hits snags

Published by Théophile Niyitegeka
On 19 November 2016 saa 06:46
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Owners of firearms that are yet to undergo the ongoing verification exercise will have their ownership licences revoked and their names published come December 20, this year, the Police Force has announced.

In the same vein, police have warned people who possess firearms illegally to surrender them voluntarily at the police stations or Local Government Authorities (LGAs) before a countrywide crackdown on illegal firearms takes off.

Acting Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Robert Boaz, told a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday that since the firearms verification exercise begun in March, 2016, police have so far verified 59.18 percent of the weapons countrywide.

“Our assessment shows that a half of the firearm owners are yet to surrender their guns to police stations for verification,’’ he said. According to Mr Boaz, the verification exercise that kicked off on March 22, this year, was expected to be completed by the end of last June but because there were many gun owners who were still turning up at different police stations, the exercise was extended to the end of last month.

“We are now issuing another grace period until December 20, that will not be extended further and we will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action against those who will fail to surrender their weapons to the police stations for verification,’’ he insisted.

Mr Boaz said the police would also revoke the licences of defiant owners as well as publishing the names of people with registered firearms that are yet to be verified within that particular period.

“ A f - ter listing their names w e shall launch a countrywide manhunt to arrest all defiant owners because we know them and their addresses,’’ he insisted. The Acting DCI called upon all gun owners to surrender their weapons before police stations for verification lest they face the wrath of the law.

He further warned people illegally possessing firearms to surrender them to police stations or LGAs, adding that the police would not take any legal action against illegal firearms owners who would voluntarily surrender their guns.

Meanwhile, Police are probing the recent bribery allegations levelled against Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander Simon Sirro by Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda.

Mr Makonda accused the Dar es Salaam Police Boss and Kinondoni Regional Police Commander (RPC) Suzan Kaganda before Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, for allegedly colluding with and failing to take proper action against shisha dealers.

On Wednesday, Mr Makonda alleged that the top cop in Dar es Salaam, the Special Police Zone Commander, was dilly-dallying to take action against the traders despite directives from the RC, alluding that Mr Sirro could be receiving bribes from the dealers.

“We received the allegations and as per the police rules and regulations we are investigating the allegations to substantiate its truth,’’ said the Acting DCI.

Already, the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) has launched its investigations of the allegations levelled before the two police bosses.