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Kenya destroys illegal firearms

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – The government is faced with a major challenge in enforcing security at the common boarders with neighbouring countries, mainly Somalia which has not had a stable government for over two decades now.

Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti said that although law enforcement officers were doing everything possible to maintain security at the border points, it remained a big challenge for them.

“We are surrounded by countries which have had problems at one point or another, that is the reality and it must be understood by Kenyans,” the Minister said citing Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi.

“That is what has caused our problems, even in Somalia, more than 20 years now they have been fighting with guns, they have brought us problems here,” the Minister said when he presided over at a ceremony to destroy some 2,545  firearms.

He said most of the firearms were recovered from pastoral communities mainly in the North Eastern, Eastern and parts of Rift Valley Provinces where law enforcement agencies have been carrying out a disarmament exercise.

“People living in these areas easily acquire firearms from neighbouring communities, and this is a challenge to the government,” the Minister said and assured that adequate security measures had been put in place at the border points.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Francis Kimemia said firearms destroyed on Wednesday were estimated to have cost cattle rustlers about Sh 1.5 billion.

“People are spending a lot of money to buy these firearms we are destroying here today; they need to be educated and have confidence in the government and stop owning guns because we are there to protect them,” Mr Kimemia said.

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The Minister and the PS said the government would continue mopping up illegal firearms in accordance with the Nairobi Protocol and other International legal instruments.

“This is a war that calls for concerted effort among members of the International community, governments, private sector, faith-based organizations and law abiding citizens,” the Minister said.

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