Monday, October 18, 2021

Arms of war found hidden in Kgatleng

Botswana Police Service and other security agencies are trying to unravel the mystery of a huge hidden arms cache discovered in the Kgatleng area with war grade weapons-which include various types of bombs, guns and bullets suggesting the existence of a possible militia in the country.

The intelligence brief  which  passed to the Sunday Standard suggests that the arms which was discovered at the farm had four containers of AK Rifles containing 18 magazines, 592 live rounds and six containers of AK-47 Accessories. Also found in the trunk were four containers of pistols which included a.8 Magazines, 170 live rounds and one container of Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG).

The report states that three containers of Grenade Powder Containers, 15 boxes of Fragmentation Grenades (hand grenade) in the same trunk.  Sixteen (16) containers of Grenade Detonators, four containers containing 81 mm Metal Bombs and three containers of Pistol Ammunition with 20 live rounds each were also found.   

Three packages of sticks of RDX explosives and  two  types of  54 pistols loaded with 20 live rounds each and 39 Ammunition Magazines (7.62 Calibre) were found.

The Explosives and Bomb Disposal Units from Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS), Botswana Defence Force’s Military Intelligence (MI) and Corps of Armament Services (CAS) travelled to the farm to view the trunk. The Botswana Police Service’s Special Support Group (SSG) and Crime Intelligence Branch (CRIB) also attended the scene. The arms and ammunition is reported to have been “handed to the SSG Ballistic Unit while investigations are still ongoing.”

While ballistic and forensic experts are still to make a determination on the intended use of the ammunition, Security agencies insiders told Sunday Standard that the presence of high-powered and mass causality weapons like RPGs, grenades, bombs detonators rules out armed robbery.

According to sources, “the inventory is very much military than law enforcement (police). Ballistic experts should be able to establish dates (how old) of the cache, origin, if they have been used in Botswana and possibly deduce motives and intentions.”

They noted that “considering the size of the inventory it does not fit conventional armed robbery operations by criminals. Although AK-47s and pistols are in the inventory and are known to be preferred weapons for criminals the amount of ammunition suggest otherwise. It suggests that whatever the operation was, it was meant to be sustained.”  

Independent security agents from various agencies also said that they had no idea how the weapons got there or why they were put there in the first place.

They also pointed to the possibility that they could have been hidden there to be picked up weeks or months later.

Botswana Police Service spokesperson Senior Superintendent Near Bagali confirmed that they were investigating the issue.

“Following your enquiry pertaining to the Arms and Ammunition found in some lands in the Kgatleng District, I can confirm that: the police are investigating an incident in which arms and ammunition were discovered in a ploughing field. Among them are 4 X AK47 rifles and accessories, ammunition magazines, 4 X pistols, 1 X Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG),” he said.

Bagali explained that the investigations are on-going (currently) to establish:

  • The origins of the same
  • The intended purpose.
  • For how long there were buried there and by who and any other information that might help the investigations.

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