The Zambia Police Service yesterday destroyed 143 illegal firearms which it retrieved from members of the public, comprising 50 home-made or non-conventional guns, 80 rifles and 13 pistols.
Acting Minister of Home Affairs Given Lubinda set the firearms ablaze at Police headquarters.
The firearms were collected through the African Union (AU) amnesty month programme, obsolete stockpiles, as well as recoveries from crimes.
Mr Lubinda urged individuals who still have unlicensed and illicit firearms in their custody to surrender them to the Zambia Police Service because it is not necessary to keep them for leisure.
“Some people have been convicted of murder not because they are criminals but because they were in possession of a gun and were tempted to pull the trigger.
“And in accordance with the Africa Amnesty Month resolutions, individuals who surrender illicit arms voluntarily will not be charged with any offence and will neither be questioned nor arrested,” he said.
Mr Lubinda said anyone who voluntarily surrenders illegal firearms during the amnesty period will receive K500.
He said members of the public should take advantage of the amnesty to surrender illicit weapons to avoid getting into conflict with the law.
And Mr Lubinda announced that Government has extended the amnesty period from September 30 to October 31 this year to enable more people to surrender illegal weapons.
Mr Lubinda said the Zambia Police Service, in collaboration with other security agencies, will continue to confiscate illegal weapons and firearms that are likely to be used in criminal activities such as poaching and robberies.
And AU head of the defence and security division Einas Mohammed said the destruction of the illegal weapons is another testimony of Zambia’s commitment to ending violence on the continent.
Ms Mohammed said every weapon destroyed translates into less violence as well as crime and guarantees a safe environment for development to take place.
And Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja assured members of the public that no one will be arrested for surrendering illegal firearms to any police station.
The Africa Amnesty Month is observed in September and involves the surrender and collection of illicit small arms.