The ceremony was this Friday presided over by the general commander of the National Police, Paulo de Almeida, who, symbolically, received weapons of war from two private security companies, which handed over weapons for self-defense.
The general commander of the National Police said that this is one of the Government's recommendations in compliance with the Law on Private Security Companies, approved in 2014, to remove weapons of war from ordinary citizens.
Paulo de Almeida stressed that the execution period for this measure is six months, after which the withdrawal will be coercive, admitting that "it will not be an easy process", as it requires some resources from the private security companies.
"With this measure, we are somehow preventing criminal situations from happening with the use of firearms and war weapons by the perpetrators of delinquency," he said.
The top head of the National Police urged all companies to dynamize and organize their weapons replacement process, making every effort to acquire self-defense weapons, a task for which they will be able to count on the help of the authorities.
"We all understand the reasons why private security companies, until now, had been possessing weapons of war, it was a historical situation, but today the conditions, both legal and even material, are created for us to start this process of replacement or withdrawal of weapons of war that are in the possession of private security companies," he said.
According to Paulo de Almeida, weapons of war are property of defense and security agencies and the services that are responsible for the private security of citizens and institutions in various establishments must have weapons of self-defense.
"We are also in a phase of restructuring the functioning of private security companies. They must be an auxiliary and complementary service of the National Police, so that mechanisms and interconnections will be established that will facilitate, provide better security coverage to communities and to the establishments themselves, citizens, what is really the social object of private security companies", he stressed.
Paulo de Almeida appealed to citizens who still illegally possess weapons of war to make their voluntary surrender to the police, under penalty of being held criminally responsible and suffering a coercive reaction by the police authorities.
To the security companies, the general commander of the National Police said that the instruments that will work from today are defense and not offensive.
"It is more to prevent, to safeguard", he said, urging that "they are well protected and that they will not end up in the hands of delinquency".
"You know how to use it, the Government recently approved the amendment to the law on private security companies, where one of the requirements will be training", he said, explaining that this will be the responsibility of private entities, under the supervision of the National Police.
In turn, the spokesman for the National Police, Orlando Bernardo, said that the process started now because the private security companies were given time to organize and create conditions, by forcing some financial effort.
Orlando Bernardo said that in Angola there are more than 1300 private security companies and almost 280 self-protection service companies, with a total of 160,000 security companies throughout the country, in possession of more than 30,000 weapons of war.
According to the spokesperson, the Police has control of the amount of weapons in the possession of each security company and, accordingly, war weapons will be exchanged for self-defense weapons, to be acquired abroad under license from the police.
Speaking to the press, José Rodrigues, from K&P Transporte Construcao Civil Lda, said that this private security company has already been notified of the process, having already acquired the weapons from a company indicated by the National Police in Turkey.
Urged to comment on whether it is a concern for companies to start using weapons of self-defense while criminals are using weapons of war, José Rodrigues said that the weapons now in the company's possession also "respond well to all attacks to those who come with a weapon. war" because they are semi-automatic.
On his turn, Jorge Silva, from the MPCP company, this Friday replaced 20 existing weapons in Luanda, a process that will continue with the other representations in the provinces, and he welcomes this measure.
Jorge Silva underlined that the acquisition process is not very simple, "but it is now easier", due to greater speed by the police in issuing import licenses.
As to whether the period of six months is enough for this process, the official expressed some skepticism, because the whole economic and logistical organization, customs clearance and importation processes are at stake, "a whole criterion of procedures".
Speaking to Lusa, the guard Manuel Fernandes, who has been in this role for three years, was not happy with this change "because it is complicated".
"We are working in an establishment where large amounts of money are handled and we need a firearm in order to guarantee more security", he referred, recalling that he has a firearm and in several situations he had to use it.