, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 5 – Police have launched a manhunt for 4,293 gun owners who failed to honor a seven-day ultimatum to surrender the weapons.
In a statement on Friday, Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai declared the gun owners armed and dangerous and declared an operation to apprehend and disarm them.
“There are some 4,293-gun owners who are deemed to be in illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. As such, the owners of these weapons will hence forth be treated as armed and dangerous criminals,” he said.
He stated that the list containing their names has been circulated to all Regional Commanders to recover the firearms and make arrests. “I have directed the Regional Commanders to begin recovering the firearms and make arrests with immediate effect.”
Mutyambai however commended 114 gun holders who honored a seven-day window period given for them to report to the nearest police station.
“Furthermore, all firearm dealers are herby directed to immediately declare and hand over any firearms and ammunition surrendered by owners to the nearest police station,” he stated.
“In exceptional cases where firearms holders are deceased, a family member(s) are directed to immediately surrender the firearms to the Firearms Licensing Bureau to the nearest police station within their home jurisdiction, within 24 hours.”
On June 28 Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi had stated that 4,407 firearm holders were required to seek certificates, failure to which they will be considered criminals for holding unlicensed guns.
Matiangi said 9,398 firearms were cleared during the vetting, in which 1,493 firearms were withdrawn and licenses cancelled.
With the conclusion of the vetting exercise, the government said it has introduced tough measures to regulate gun ownership in Kenya.
Further, the police boss cautioned gun owners from reckless display of guns.
Over 13,800 firearm holders were registered in the recently concluded vetting exercise by the Firearms Licensing Board.
Matiangi stated that only 20 gun dealers have been cleared to operate in the country.
While receiving a final report on the exercise, he stated that the decision was arrived at after the licenses of thirteen dealers were revoked.