The government of Zimbabwe has reportedly acquired a wide range of weapons for police officers in anticipation of protests as the economic situation continues to spiral out of control.
A Zimbabwe Independent report claims that the government has ordered 18 types of ammo for the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s (ZRP) Support Unit. Some of the weapons include:
… multi-purpose bullets, mortar bombs, grenades, cartridges and bores. Documents show that government acquired two million 7.62X39 millimetre (mm) ball, 50 000 (7.62×51mm ball), 20 000 (7.62×51mm tracer), 20 000 (9×19mm), 10 000 (7.62×25mm ball), 10 000 (.223 ammunition), 10 000 (12 bore), 5 000 (7.62×51mm blank) and 50 000 (37mm cartridge).
… 5 000 (60mm mortar bombs), 50 000 tear smoke hand grenades, 5 000 illuminating grenades, 5 000 blank grenades, 2 000 hand colour grenades, 1 000 instant light grenades, 500 stun grenades and 1 000 (37mm aerial sonic).
When the Zimbabwe Independent contacted Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema this week, he retorted:
You are bothering me. Why are you bothering me? I want to rest. Go to the people who told you about it. Am I the one who told you?
The report further claims that so far 1 050 regular police officers have received paramilitary training at Shamva Battle Camp.
The officers are reportedly being instructed by Russian-trained personnel.
The government is still reeling from international condemnation after deploying soldiers on August 1 2018, and again in January this year resulting in the killing of several protestors.
Thus, the government is equipping the police to deal with protests in future.