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30 smuggled guns from South Africa turn out to be toys

Two men in Harare who were initially accused of receiving 30 smuggled guns faced reduced charges on Thursday when it was discovered that the pistols, which the police claimed were worth US$14,750, were toy guns valued at R2,000.

Douglas Emmanuel Jekanyika, 44, from Belvedere in Harare, and Godknows Gunda, 31, from Masasa in Harare, were originally set to be charged with illegal possession of firearms and smuggling. However, as they were taken to the Harare Magistrates Court on Thursday, the charges were reduced to smuggling.

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Jekanyika was the first to be arrested on March 5 at 10 AM when he arrived at the High Glen Bus Terminus in Glen Norah to collect two boxes sent from South Africa via a Tems Logistics bus.

Acting on a tip about guns and ammunition on the bus, the police immediately apprehended Jekanyika. They discovered what they initially believed to be 10 Blow F92 pistols and 20 Blow P29 pistols with empty magazines. Additionally, they found 1,700 rounds of ammunition.

However, during the initial court appearance, the National Prosecuting Authority confirmed that the items were, in fact, toy guns and the ammunition was blanks.

“The accused were asked to produce the declaration papers and had nothing. It was established that they were not firearms but toys which can fire blank ammunition,” the NPA said at the man’s initial court appearance.

Blanks are cartridges used in firearms that do not discharge a projectile but simulate the effects of a gunshot, including a muzzle flash and a loud sound.

The defence lawyers for the two men plan to argue that the toy guns were intended for security guard training. Gunda, in particular, works as a manager at Gemak Security company in Harare.

“My clients will plead not guilty to the charge. CID Homicide has compiled a ballistics report which revealed that the guns were toys. So, the matter remains that of smuggling. However, the accused were nowhere near the border so they could not have smuggled the toys,” defence lawyer Rene Kuchidza said.

Magistrate Dennis Mangosi remanded both men in custody until Friday for a bail hearing.

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