NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14 – Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi on Tuesday unveiled the September Amnesty Month in line with an African Union recognized tradition aimed at encouraging voluntary surrender of illicit firearms.
In a statement, Matiangi urged the public to take advantage of the amnesty period, cooperate with security officials and return illegal arms.
The CS directed the National Police Service and Regional County Commissioners to coordinate surrender initiatives.
“Members of the public have an obligation to cooperate with security agencies in the course of this nationwide activity. This is the only way we can end the trend of some of the ravages that such arms have visited some parts of our country,” Matiangi stated.
During Amnesty Month in 2020, the government collected over 5000 firearms from civilians.
On June 9, President Kenyatta set on fire 5,144 illegal weapons as well as obsolete state-owned small arms and light weapons as part of efforts to fight crime.
The Head of State noted that the recovery of illicit small arms and light weapons is in tandem with the African Union’s call for Silencing the Guns in Africa.
He said although the AU target was not fully fully achieved by 2020, the deadline year, individual countries, Kenya included, have made excellent progress towards that goal.
“By publicly destroying illicit weapons, Kenya once again openly demonstrates that we are determined and ready to face the challenges posed by small arms and light weapons,” Kenyatta said in Ngong, Kajiado county, on the outskirts of Nairobi.
The government destroyed weapons confiscated by security officers or voluntarily surrendered to agencies collecting illegal small arms and light weapons.
Those who return the guns before September 30 are assured of pardon.
The call by the government to allow citizens to return illegal guns in the month of September without any punishment is in line with the decision of the African Union Heads of State Summit endorsing the observance of September as the Africa Amnesty Month for the surrender and collection of illegally owned arms.