Over 1 000 illegal guns recovered, 559 arrests

2011-03-09 00:00

IN less than three months, police in KwaZulu-Natal have recovered 1 093 illegal firearms, including high-calibre assault rifles, mostly from northern KwaZulu-Natal.

The firearms, which provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Mammunye Ngobeni showed journalists during a press conference at the SA Police Force provincial headquarters, were mostly in good condition.

However, others were rusted, apparently from having been buried underground for a lengthy time. The recovered firearms included 103 automatic and semi-automatic ­rifles, 809 revolvers and pistols, 69 shotguns and 45 home-made firearms.

Not included in the total are 24 parts of firearms and 9 887 rounds of ammunition that were confiscated by police during the past two months.

Ngobeni said 559 people were arrested during the period for being in possession of illegal firearms.

She said most recoveries were made in Kranskop, Sundumbili, Estcourt, Nongoma, KwaMsane and Msinga. She said she could not rule out that there are firearms, which were found in Durban hostels, but are not included in the 1 093.

“Just this morning members from crime intelligence unit in Mpangeni together with public order policing and other units held an operation in the Mandeni area. The operation yielded five firearms, which include two R5 rifles and three pistols.

“These firearms were used for protection within the taxi industry in that area and this is another major success in reducing the number of incidents of violence in this province, especially within the volatile taxi industry,” she said.

KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Major-General Johan Booysen said ballistic tests have linked the firearms to crimes that are yet to be solved.

“However, I don’t have statistics here with me. But every time we do recoveries we try to establish whether they are linked to previous crimes,” said Booysen.

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