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Crackdown on illegal firearms

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Police have mounted security roadblocks here and in surrounding areas as part of efforts to clamp down on rampant proliferation of illegal firearms in the city.

In an interview, national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said police had launched an operation to confiscate illegal firearms they believe were being used in armed robberies in Bulawayo.

Two weeks ago, Chief Superintendent Lawrence Chatikobo was gunned down by armed robbers at a night club as he pulled out his pistol in a bid to foil the heist.

A week later, armed robbers raided Whitestone Primary School in Burnside and got away with cash but their luck ran out and they were arrested outside the Chronicle newspaper offices the following day.

Several cases of armed robbery have been reported in Bulawayo, including the daring theft of firearms from Nkulumane Police Station.

“We have mounted several roadblocks to try and catch those who come into the city with illegal firearms which we believe they get from neighbouring countries,” Bvudzijena said.

He said the armed robbers who killed Chatikobo were still at large.

He dismissed as false reports that a crack police team from Harare had been roped in to investigate the case because of suspicion that it might have been an
“internal job”.

“There is nothing of the sort. Police there (Bulawayo) are quite capable of handling the matter on their own,” said Bvudzijena.

He said no charges had been laid against the police members who fatally shot a state security agent at the Chicken Inn outlet opposite the Tredgold Courts after mistaking him for an armed robber.

“Normally, we do not discuss such internal matters with the press but we are still investigating the matter,” said Bvudzijena.

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