Zimbabwe’s state security operatives reportedly seized a large shipment of weapons at West Nicholson, Matabeleland South Province.
The state security operatives say they intercepted 3 trucks (company name withheld) carrying 6 containers, some of which had AK47 rifles, rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives hidden under tiles.
The authorities said they were not in a position to reveal the owners of the containers or the intended destination in Zimbabwe. But they said the discovery has increased fears of possible violence during next year’s elections.
State security agents say they are still sifting through the weapons to determine all the types and quantities. According to the agents, the type and quantity of weapons might prove the existence of a large militia group planning a major offensive.
Only a small part of the arsenal was shown to the media, but it was enough to worry security experts. They identified the artillery rockets as Norinco rockets – a type used by the Taliban in Afghanistan – suitable for high-intensity warfare.
Official sources told the Daily Monitor that the shipment is suspected to have originated from Europe. However, security officials, told journalists the authorities were still establishing the exact origin of the weapons and their intended destination. Poice spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi is quoted as saying:
At this point, the only thing we can say is that we have some armaments we have intercepted … Let’s not jump to conclusions.
Officials told the Daily Monitor that there had been some arrests, but gave no further details. Security has been stepped up in Zimbabwe as the country gears towards the 2023 harmonised elections.
In some unrelated reports, a founding member of the Movement for Democratic Alliance, Mr Gabriel Chaibva recently claimed that the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) had re-established an armed paramilitary wing within its ranks, which is recruiting and arming militias with a target of having trained 7 000 people by 2023.
The CCC denies the reports and dismisses them as a ploy by the government to justify the victimisation of the party’s supporters.