NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21 – Police have confiscated 5,000 illegal arms since 2011 to date, although the numbers of illegal arms in the hands of civilians remains high in the country at 500,000.
Director of Kenya National Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons William Sayia says more effort is being made to reduce the numbers of illegal arms in the hands of civilians which have been attributed to insecurity experienced in most parts of the country.
Among the measures put in place include marking of State owned firearms, which he said already 90 percent are marked, to ensure they are not used to commit crime.
“One of the reasons the marking of State owned firearm is being enhanced is this element of accountability,” he stated. “This will curb the use of licit fire arm. Since we started marking the firearm, there have been very minimal cases of state fire arm being used to carry out criminal activities.”
He was speaking on Thursday during the launch of RESCA small arms project funded by AFDB to the tune of $1.5 million to help fight proliferation of firearm.
He said already plans are underway to launch a software that will help in tracking of all State owned firearm.
Sayia has also revealed that he intends to propose to the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery that all Civilian owned arms be marked also to ensure they are not used in committing crime.
“This technical assistance and capacity building project, the first of its kind the AFDB is funding in line with the partnership we are committed to build in our effort to strive for a safer and secure sub-region,” Cabinet Secretary for Interior Joseph Nkaissery said through a speech read by Sayia.
“The project has two main components; the first one is institution strengthening and capacity building for RESCA and the second one is operationalization of the Nairobi Protocol in selected fragile and non-fragile member states.”
Nkaissery on his part pointed out that, “Regular terrorist attacks with the use of small arms not only in Kenya but also in other countries in the region are a challenge that impacts negatively on development.”
He specifically said the challenge of cattle rustling in the country that has resulted to civilian deaths in the North Rift was attributed to the easy availability of illegal small arms.
“The government is currently implementing a disarmament programme among communities in North Rift region to recover illegal weapons, while at the same time boosting security by posting more law enforcement agents,” he said.