Thursday, July 7, 2022

Police suspect criminals may be producing own firearms

The high increase in the number of illegal firearms in the country has led police to the conclusion that some criminals are secretly assembling firearms.

The suspicion comes after criminals and police officers exchanged fire in a gun battle at the Gaborone Bus Rank filling station that resulted in one of the suspects being shot dead and others arrested.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the Deputy Director of Criminal Investigations Department, Kesetsenao Tsweneetsile, said they strongly suspect that some criminals in Botswana might be illegally assembling old firearms that are smuggled from neighbouring countries.

Although Tshweneetsile was not in a position to reveal more information on this aspect, he explained that investigations indicate that it is highly probable that some of the criminals bring in pieces of old firearms and put then together to make a full firearm, which will be then used in criminal activities.

He said criminals do not need to have a particular area where they can assemble the firearms but just the skill to put together the small pieces.

 Tsweneetsile added that most of the pistols often used by criminals have their serial numbers filed off, an indication that they might have been stolen from neighbouring countries and used in Botswana for criminal activities.

He reminded the public that no one is allowed to either own or buy a pistol.

He stated that they are experiencing a spate of robberies in which pistols are being used and added that there are small groups of individuals that are terrorizing the business community.

“The police are doing all they can to apprehend and wipe out such gangs and pistols are confiscated during the arrests,” he said.

He added that, over the weekend, there was a robbery at a Nandos outlet at Square Mart Mall in Gaborone and an undisclosed amount of money was taken away.

It is evident that in most cases where a criminal activity occurs, the criminals would have been provided with credible information by the employees of that particular business as they would even know how much money is available and where exactly to find it, he said.

Tsweneetsile complained that there are still Asian business people that still keep large sums of money in their residences despite being cautioned.

“We have the responsibility to educate and sensitize the public about security issues but our efforts can only bear fruit if they believe in opening bank accounts and depositing their money. This will not only reduce being targeted by criminals but in their own safety.’

He appealed to the general public to assist the police with information that may lead to the arrest of suspected criminal individuals.

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