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Since gaining independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has suffered from socio-economic hardship and conflict marked by sporadic periods of escalation.1 As of 2023, political instability remains and reports state that armed violence and human rights abuses continue to occur in the country.2 Zimbabwe has moderate levels of weapons and ammunition trafficking,and very high levels of landmine and unexploded ordnance contamination (especially at its borders with Mozambique and Zambia).4

The African Union (AU), the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC), the Multinational Small Arms and Ammunition Group (MSAG), and the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) are working on the ground to support the through-life management of ammunition, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence of Zimbabwe. Efforts have included regional training programmes on physical security and stockpile management, train-the-trainer programmes in weapons and ammunition management, and the creation of a database to monitor ongoing and completed interventions in the field of small arms and light weapons control.5


1 Bryan Sims, “Zimbabwe: A Conflict History,” Peace Insight, August 20, 2015,

2 “World Report 2023: Zimbabwe Events of 2022,” Human Rights Watch, accessed September 11, 2023,

3 Philip Alpers and Miles Lovell, Zimbabwe – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law (, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2023),

4 “Zimbabwe,” HALO Trust, accessed June 28, 2022,

5 “Ammunition Management Activity Platform (A-MAP),” GICHD, 2023,

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Map of Zimbabwe

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, one accidental explosion has been reported in Zimbabwe.

Table 1. Accidental explosions in Zimbabwe (1979–2021)








State (military)



Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Numerous cases of diversion have been reported since 2009 in Zimbabwe.

Table 2. Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition and explosives in Zimbabwe since 2009






Three AK-47 assault rifles and several rounds of ammunition were reportedly stolen from army barracks.



An unknown number of weapons were stolen from the state armoury during a coup.



The following items were stolen from the ZRP National Armoury over a six-year period: 33,216 rounds of ammunition, two Browning shotguns and one CZ pistol.



Twenty AK-47s and a shotgun were stolen from the armoury at the Pomona army barracks.

Source: “Zimbabwe: Weapons Theft Stokes Fears of Instability,” New Humanitarian, ReliefWeb, November 19, 2009,; John Cassim, “Robberies Involving 'Soldiers' Sends Shock Waves in Zimbabwe,” Anadolu Agency, January 8, 2022,; Oscar Nkala, “33 216 Rounds of Ammunition Stolen from Zim Police Armoury,” defenceWeb, August 8, 2014,; Matthews Estell, “93 Years in Jail for Stealing Guns in Zimbabwe,” Bulawayo24 News, May 6, 2011,; Lucky Mabhiza, “Soldiers in Trouble after Ammunition Disappears at a Barrack,” Mbare Times, September 18, 2021,


Insufficient information on the disposal of ammunition in Zimbabwe.


No needs have been identified for Zimbabwe.1


1 Zimbabwe, National PoA Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the UN, 2008),

Published Date: Monday 21 of August 2023