Kenyan rights group calls for strategy to fight spread of illegal weapons

By Andrew Wasike

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – A Kenya-based human rights organization working with other rights groups has called for Kenyan police and youth to work together to fight the spread of unregistered weapons used in crimes, which are mostly illegally imported from neighboring countries.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency at a meeting on unregistered weapons in the Kibera slums of the capital Nairobi, Yasa Musa, executive director of Kituo cha Haki, said “most of the unregistered weapons in Kenya were brought into the country from Somalia and Ethiopia.”

“We have had from the community the exchange of armaments such as guns, such as pistols between youth and the police. This is a dialogue in which we decided to bring [together] community members, stakeholders, police officers, [village] chiefs…to be able to address these issues so that we may understand who these criminals are and why these armaments are being exchanged,” Musa said.

Police officer Anthony Kiragu noted that the police service is conducting an operation for the retrieval of unregistered weapons in Kenya.

"We want a very good relationship between the police and the public. Therefore, we advise our youth to come and talk to us. Let's not arrest them." he said.

Rights groups say they do not want the Kibera slums to be known as a dangerous place with armed gangs.

“As you have already heard, it is one of the most unsafe places to be visited based on a report released last year. This is something where we want to change the narrative, we want the youth to get economic empowerment, we want the youth to be employed, and we also want a good relationship and good rapport between the police and the youth,” Musa added.