Former army general probed for owning AK-47
19 January 2021 | Justice
Retired army general Thomas Hamunyela, who was arraigned in court last week on stock-theft charges, told court officials that he owns an assault rifle so that he could assist state security if the need arises.
This is despite the law prohibiting civilians from owning automatic rifles.
The police are investigating the matter.
During Hamunyela’s bail application last week, it came to light that he owns an AK-47.
Namibian Sun understands that the police discovered Hamunyela owned the rifle when they questioned him about the stock-theft allegations last year.
When asked in court why he was in possession of an automatic rifle, Hamunyela said he kept the rifle when he retired in case a time comes when he is needed to assist the security forces.
Passing the buck
When asked for comment on whether such arrangements are made with former army officers, defence minister Peter Vilho referred questions to police minister Frans Kapofi.
Kapofi told Namibian Sun that he was unaware of the situation but added that there should be valid reasons and documentation for one to possess such a rifle.
“The Arms and Ammunition Act does not permit people to own weapons that are not licensed. Whether it is an AK-47, R-4 or any other rifle, they should be licensed.
“If those weapons are not licensed, I think the law will take its course because you are not permitted to have it. Maybe there are certain circumstances under which he kept them.
“I do not know until I am formally informed about that situation. But I have heard of stories of that kind. The law will take its course. Whatever rifle you have must be licensed,” Kapofi said.
Hamunyela was arrested and charged with stealing five head of cattle in the Kavango West Region.
He allegedly resisted arrest at Mururani police station when he was summoned last Tuesday.
It was then decided to escort him to Rundu to appear before the Rundu Magistrate’s Court.
The police followed Hamunyela but he later opted not to cooperate.
He allegedly only started cooperating when the Kavango West police commissioner, Josephat Abel, called him and threatened to order the police reserve force to apprehend him.