Kenya to destroy illegal firearms

March 16, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – More than 2,400 assorted firearms recovered from robbery suspects and those voluntarily surrendered from regions affected by cattle rustling in the country will be destroyed on Tuesday.

The illicit firearms will be publicly set ablaze at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi.

Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said the destruction would mark the 9th anniversary of the declaration on proliferation of small arms in the country.

“We are appealing to the public to volunteer information at all times that can lead to the recovery of firearms. Weapons of this nature are dangerous,” he told Capital News in an interview.

He said some of the weapons to be destroyed are those that were kept as exhibits and whose cases have been completed.

“Once cases are completed, we destroy the arms that were used as exhibits. There are also those that were recovered in various parts of the country and had no cases in court,” he added.

In 2007, nearly 8,000 illicit arms were set ablaze, the largest number ever to be destroyed in Kenya.

And unlike in 2007, Mr Kiraithe said, the bulk of the firearms to be destroyed were recovered through voluntary surrender under the government amnesty programme.

“This time, the majority of firearms were recovered during security operations with the largest haul coming from Mount Elgon,” he said.

Another large number was recovered during sustained police operations in Nairobi and Central Province, mainly involving Mungiki sect members.

“Even as we destroy these firearms, it is not lost on us that thousands of illicit firearms in this country still exist in the wrong hands,” he said.

Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti said security forces would continue with a national crackdown on illicit firearms.

He urged those with unlicensed firearms to surrender them to the police, particularly in cattle-rustling prone regions where herdsmen routinely carry rifles.



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