People in possession of illegal firearms and ammunition in Namibia have been given a grace period of one month to surrender all unlicensed firearms, armaments and ammunition to the police without being prosecuted.
The amnesty month was launched by the minister of home affairs, immigration, safety and security, Albert Kawana, on Tuesday.
Kawana said anyone complying with the call to surrender illegal weapons and ammunition during September would be exempted from prosecution.
He also warned that after the expiry of the amnesty period, the police would show "no mercy" in apprehending people in possession of unlicensed firearms, armaments or ammunition.
Namibian Police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga noted that Namibia also had an amnesty period for the surrender of illegal weapons and ammunition in 2016, and said that had been "a resounding success".
He added that at the time, 1 276 firearms, 99 509 pieces of ammunition and 81 unexploded ordnances were handed over to the police and have since been destroyed.
Ndeitunga noted that over the past three financial years, the police have registered 453 cases of attempted murder involving a firearm, 919 cases of the pointing of a firearm and 380 cases of firearm theft.
"With regards to cases of robbery with aggravating circumstances, 408 were recorded during the 2018/19 financial year, compared to 414 robbery cases during 2019/20, and 418 cases during the 2020/21 financial year," he said.
Ndeitunga said these figures illustrated a slight increase in the crime of robbery with aggravating circumstances and remarked this was a concern as it negatively affects Namibia both socially and economically.