On Tuesday, more than 5,250 illegal guns were burned in Kenya as a means of discouraging the circulation of illegal firearms. The collection of illegal guns were a combination of confiscations from criminals, voluntarily surrendered firearms and disarmament exercises.
“We are destroying small arms and ammunition so that they do not fall into wrong hands that will cause harm in society,” said William Ruto, Kenya’s Deputy President. “I urge those in possession of illegal firearms to surrender them to police and those in custody of state weapons to maintain proper usage.”
According to Rutio, handguns threaten peace and stability in the area.
“Their presence has also intensified the threats posed by transnational crimes such as terrorism, human trafficking, piracy and drug trafficking.”
Kenya has stringent gun laws that make obtaining a gun license difficult. Kenyans who apply for a license are required to go through multiple interviews and background checks. Despite the gun control laws, hundreds of illegal firearms are smuggled into the country, primarily from Somalia.
It is estimated that civilians own around 500,000 illegal guns. Authorities believe these illegal firearms are used in cattle raids, extremist attacks and robberies.