Army roped in to assist in arms cache probe

Police have requested the Zimbabwe National Army to assist in investigating the case in which 507 rounds of ammunition of a PKM machine gun were unearthed in a rusty box by a farmer in Magunje last Friday.

The PKM is a belt-fed general-purpose machine gun, chambered for the 7.62×54mmR rimmed cartridge.

Designed in the Soviet Union and currently in production in Russia, the original PK machine gun was introduced in 1961 and the improved PKM variant was introduced in 1969.

The PKM was designed to replace the SGM and RP-46 machine guns that were previously in service in the then Soviet Union.

The weapon remains in use as a front-line infantry and vehicle-mounted weapon with Russia’s armed forces and has also been exported extensively and produced in several other countries.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed the discovery of the ammunition.

“On January 21, 2022, ZRP Magunje recorded a case of discovery of arms of war at Karenga Village, Chief Dendera, Hurungwe by a farmer aged 42 who was working in his field with an ox-drawn plough.

“About 507 rounds of a PKM machine gun were unearthed in a rusty box measuring about 30x25x15 cm in size. Meanwhile, the ammunition was taken to ZNA 23 Combat Group Magunje for further investigations,” he said.

In October last year, Gweru police requested help from the ZNA bomb disposal unit and army engineers to inspect a plastic bag with three AK47 assault rifles. A farmer stumbled upon them at a plot on the outskirts of Gweru.

Mr Malvin Chimwe (40) of Mkoba 14 was digging a plot along the Lower Gweru Road that people in the area said had never been cultivated before when his hoe hit the pack of three AK47s assault rifles stashed in a plastic bag.

In October, 2019, police in Victoria Falls were also investigating a case where wildlife rangers found two metal boxes 0f ammunition with 1 500 rounds in the Zambezi National Park.

Mr Posent Mudenda, a Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority ranger stumbled upon the arms in Kalisosa area in Zambezi National Park while leading a team of five wildlife researchers from Lion Encounter. They found two metal boxes of 7.62mm ammunition with about 1 500 rounds inside.

They reported the matter to the police and handed over the ammunition. A specialist team from the police and Zimbabwe National Army attended the scene.Herald.

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