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Persons will be held accountable should weapons go missing - President Ali

The high power rifles recovered at the mining camp

President Irfaan Ali on Wednesday engaged miners and small business owners at the Bartica Community Centre.

During the engagement, a small miner expressed his frustration with not being able to secure a gun licence. The miner cited security concerns, specifically about the high crime rate in the interior where he operates a gold mine.

The Head of State did agree that protection was necessary and assured the miner that “the commissioner is doing an evaluation for the mining sector.”

However, he stressed that there needs to be balance when it comes to the issuance of these licences. President Ali pointed out that in one instance “we found assault rifle and guess what? The man whose camp we found it was given a security licence and the security firm did not report the story.”

He continued “if we have a security firm with five high power rifles and can’t secure the rifle we have a problem.”

It is in this instance that he stressed that “we cannot have companies with security licences having high power rifles and it ends up in hand that can destroy the security architecture of a country. No security company in this country will be allowed to do that.”

However, he was interrupted by Wayne Anthony Herber- the man who was the owner of the security licence. He claimed that the stolen weapons were well secured but he was a victim of ‘break and enter’ while he was away for treatment in the United Kingdom.

But the Head of State shut down the argument with the man saying that “I don’t want to prosecute the matter here.” The file has since been sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) office for advice.

To avoid incidents of this nature in the future, the Head of State advised the man to lodge the weapons at the Police Station whenever he is away.

However, Herber disagreed with the President’s suggestion. He asked the question “everytime I leave the country I have to take 25 guns to the stations? It’s easier said than done’’, as the crowd disagreed with him.

The Head of State made it clear to Herber that the licence was issued to him on the basis that he would be responsible for them.

Among the weapons that were recovered are an FN Rifle, 37.223 rounds of ammunition, and a Rickover 5.56 MM Rifle.

The police had reported that the camp owner said he was aware of the suspect, who later visited the camp with the weapons and demanded money.

He then noted that the suspect buried the weapons in three different locations, where he eventually led the police. The high-powered weapons were taken to the Bartica Police Station and lodged.


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