Nuristan police lose hundreds of guns: governor
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The acting governor of eastern Nuristan province on Monday said hundreds of guns that belong to the police department had gone missing and asked the Ministry of Interior to send a delegation for investigation.
Talking to Pajhwok Afghan News during an exclusive interview, Hafiz Abdul Qayyum said the guns had disappeared over the past 13 years, but provided no figures for the missing weapons.
He said the weapons had disappeared under several provincial police chiefs. “Nuristan police do not have heavy weapons and those missing are light weapons,” said the acting governor, who urged the Ministry of Interior to send an authorised delegation to the province to conduct an audit to determine the whereabouts of the weapons.
Qayyum hoped the Interior Ministry would respond to his request and would carry out a serious probe into the issue. After the proposed investigation, those responsible should be referred to the judicial organs, he recommended.
Nuristan provincial council member Omar Farooq Qanuni also confirmed hundreds of weapons belonging to the police had been stolen and called for an investigation into the matter.
“We are aware of this issue and we have started our investigation to know who have taken them, why and how much.”
Provincial police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Baqi Nuristani confirmed a number of police officers had taken home their official guns after their salaries had been delayed.
He said the guns missing were not in hundreds but less and they did not know the exact number. “I assumed office as the police chief nine months ago and during my time, no weapon has disappeared. Our investigation shows some police officers in the past had taken home their guns due to non-payment of salaries.”
The police chief said there was no need of sending a delegation by the Ministry of Interior to investigate the issue because they could investigate it themselves to determine the whereabouts of the guns.
“We will talk to the police heads concerned to retrieve the guns and bring to justice those responsible. The missing weapons are here, they have not been taken out of the province.”
The Ministry of Interior has so far said nothing about the issue of missing guns in Nuristan, but President Ashraf Ghani, who recently held a video conference with the governors of eastern provinces, asked the Ministry of Interior to send delegations to these provinces to investigate problems there.
Nuristan officials say they would take up the issue of the missing weapons with the Interior Ministry’s delegation that is expected to arrive in the near future.
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