Smuggling of small arms continues unabated

Kathmandu, July 17

The smuggling of small arms continues at an alarming rate and is posing a major threat to public security.

Police on Sunday arrested three persons with a ‘Germany made’ pistol, two magazines and five bullets from Nakhkhipot of Lalitpur Metropolitan City-15. Those arrested were Krishna Bahadur Jogi, 23, and Anshuram Moktan, 23, of Ramechhap and Hemraj Paudel, 36, of Taplejung.

Based on their statements, a team of Metropolitan Police Crime Division and Lalitpur-based Metropolitan Police Range nabbed two more persons in possession of two pistols, three magazines, 56 bullets, two swords, two khukuris and six knives from different places of Kathmandu valley.

The arrestees are Roshan Subba Limbu, 45, of Lalitpur and Ramchandra Adhikari, 38, of Nuwakot.

DSP Narendra Chand said they were running an illegal arms racket and had been supplying firearms to various criminal groups in the valley. They used to procure and bring home small arms from India.

A huge cache of arms and ammunition have been recovered from various parts of the country in the past two months, Nepal Police said.

Police arrested 88 persons with eight pistols, 42 guns and over 250 bullets during the period. This is testimony to the growing gun culture in the country.

According to sources‚ a pistol fetches arms smugglers up to Rs 100‚000, depending on the need of the prospective clients‚ who are mostly extortionists or members of organised criminal gangs. The porous Nepal-India border has provided a safe passage for illegal arms traders. The locally manufactured firearms are available at cheaper rates compared to factory-made ones smuggled from India.

Though small arms are rarely used in killing, criminal gangs possess them to threaten the victims of extortion, kidnapping and robbery. Police said the rise in smuggling of small arms into the valley has resulted in surge of crimes like murder‚ extortion, abduction and robbery.

A research conducted by Small Arms Survey, Nepal Armed Violence Assessment and Interdisciplinary Analysts in 2013 has estimated that the valley alone has around 10,000 of the total 395,000 privately-owned illegal firearms in the country.