500 000 small arms and light weapons in the wrong hands
22 May 2015, 15:50
Nairobi - More than 500 000 small arms and light weapons are in the wrong hands and are being used in cattle rustling, robbery and other illicit activities that are hindering Kenyan economy.
Director of Kenya small arms and light weapons William Sayia, however, says the government has managed to confiscate more than 5 000 illegal firearms since 2011 which he says is a move towards the right direction.
"Some of you might despise the number as small but this is a big step because even one firearm can cause massive destruction. Remember in the Garissa massacre there were about four gangsters and they were probably having one firearm each," he said.
Sayia also said the marking of government-owned firearms is ongoing to enhance accountability in the holders.
He also added that the government is coming with software that monitors state arms to ensure that they are being used only for intended purposes.
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RECSA Executive Secretary, Theoneste Mutsindashyaka said small arms have become a big issue as more than 100 million are in Africa, mostly in the hands of civilians.
"In the developing world, conflicts are dominant in our countries. 90 percent of the victims of gun violence are civilians, many of them women and children, but young men in their 20s predominate both as killers and as victims," he said.
He said RECSA in collaboration with the Kenya National Focal Point and UNDP are working on cross-border cooperation, practical disarmament and capacity development in order to address the situation.
"There is a strong relationship between small arms proliferation and development. Not only do they take so many lives, but also affect economies and the social bonds on which every kind of collective institution and progress rely," he said.
The two were speaking Thursday during the launch of RECSA project to enhance regional and states stability through reduction of proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nairobi.
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