If you are headed toward Zimbabwe, do not think of getting on the plane without reading this warning. If you know other hunters who are leaving for that country and you think they may not have read this warning, get on the phone to them. Now, the gun/ammo import situation in Zimbabwe has become deadly serious. Just ask booking agent Bruce Grant of Florida, who just returned from Zimbabwe after spending a night in police custody in Harare for forgetting to declare 40 rounds of ammunition he was bringing in for a client. "I was wrong. It was my fault," Grant said in an interview at press time. "I wasn't doing any hunting on this trip, so I didn't have a gun with me. I simply forgot that the stuff was in my bag." After spending the night in a prison cell with six other inmates, in what Grant called "filthy" conditions, he was formally charged with smuggling and fined $2,000 (Z). "Please point out that I am going back to Zimbabwe shortly," Grant said at press time. "There is no reason for anyone to cancel his safari."
Here at The Hunting Report, we agree with that assessment, but we are keeping a wary eye on the situation, particularly in light of still another incident at press time involving four New Zealanders and an American who were arrested on their way out of the country after participating in a shooting competition. All five spent a night in the same kind of police custody Grant did before being released the next day on what we would call a technicality, thanks to a local attorney.
Why is Zimbabwe reacting this way to gun and ammo problems? Opinions vary, but one root cause is the arrest of those three Americans we mentioned last month. Ostensibly missionaries, the three were heavily armed with military-type weapons that authorities suspect were related somehow to the ongoing war in Congo - where, of course, Zimbabwe is engaged as a combatant. The war in Congo has not received much coverage in the US or in Europe, but........(continued)