Firearm smuggling thriving in country, police say

August 04, 2021

Shuvam Dhungana, The Kathmandu Post, August 04, 2021

Nepal Police has confiscated a total of 944 firearms from various parts of the country in the last three fiscal years.

Police on Monday arrested two Indian men for firearm possession in Dang district.

Deputy Superintendent Mukunda Rijal of District Police Office, Dang said the suspects, Karmullah Amir, 22, and Raja Khan, 19, were caught with a pistol, two magazines and two bullets while they were entering the district.

Preliminary investigation has found that the two suspects have long been in the gun-running trade.

Rijal said police have launched a search for the person who was supposed to buy the firearm from the suspects.

Police suspect that the firearm trade is thriving in Nepal. There has been a rise in the number of firearm possession arrests in recent years.

According to the Nepal Police records, 326 people, including 32 foreigners, were arrested for firearm possession in the fiscal year 2018-19. The number of arrests rose to 361 in the following fiscal year. In the fiscal year 2020-21, police arrested 373 people with illegal firearms.

The Nepal Police also confiscated 944 firearms from various parts of the country in the last three fiscal years.

“Use of firearms in murder, robbery and extortion cases are also on the rise these days,” said Senior Superintendent Basanta Bahadur Kunwar, spokesperson for Nepal Police.

In one such recent incident, police arrested two men for allegedly brandishing a pistol to threaten a staff member of a financial institution at Kageshwori Manahara in Kathmandu on Monday.

Kunwar said many criminals use improvised firearms because they are available at cheaper rates compared to factory-made weapons.

As per the Sub-section 2 of Section 3 of the Arms and Ammunition Act, no person shall manufacture, repair, have in his/her possession, or put or cause to put any arms or ammunition without a licence in defiance of the terms and conditions as specified in the licence. Any person found committing the offence is liable to a punishment of up to seven years alongside several thousands in fine as determined by the respective chief district officer.