The United States embassy in Harare has unequivocally denied a report in State-controlled local daily, The Herald, which claimed that a diplomat brought in four rifles into the country to use them for illegal purposes.

The Herald report further stated that the guns could have been used in the shooting and killing of civilians in August 2018 and during the January 2019 fuel riots where 17 civilians were reportedly shot and killed.

In response to an emailed question by ZimLive, the US embassy said:

We reject the false claim by government-controlled media that firearms were imported for illegal purposes. This claim has no basis in fact. Any firearms imported by embassy officials are for legal purposes only.

The Herald had reported that an American diplomat, John Kent, had smuggled four rifles into the country which remained undeclared and unlicensed for several months.

 A report by the herald read in part:

Fears abound that the weapons could have been used for nefarious purposes, including civil disturbances that occurred in 2018 and this year, although The Herald could not ascertain this at the time of going to print.