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Police embark on diplomatic arms search

12 November 2012, 14:13 Alloys Musyoka

Police officers in Tana Delta have began a diplomatic search for 580 rounds of ammunition and eight guns snatched from officers at Kilelengwani village during theTana Delta tribal clashes.

The Rural Boarder Patrol Unit officers from the administration police force are now using community policing methods to recover the government owned firearms, corfirmed the officer in charge of the Unit Superintendent Patrick Mwaniki.

Mwaniki told journalists in Tana Delta that their effort to educate locals on importance of surrendering the guns without using force has helped them recover 20 illegally owned guns since the operation kicked off two months ago.

“The diplomatic strategy has yielded fruits so far and made us recover 16 AK 47 riffles, 3 G3 riffles and 1 Barreta which were voluntarily surrendered by locals without using any force,” he pointed out.

The officer said despite the fact that Ozi village is a no go zone for police, he spent a few nights  at Kau and Kilelengwani discussing with elders and opinion leaders on how they can convince the locals to surrender the weapons they are keeping.

He pointed out that the eight guns and the rounds of ammunition were yet to be recovered, noting that his officers were monitoring them closely.

He appealed to locals to surrender their illegal arms voluntarily, failure to which the police will be forced to use force to recover them.

Mwaniki said they will not leave the area until all government owned fire arms are recovered, adding that the weapons are a big security threat to the police and residents.

However, the officer observed that they were facing a lot of challengers in their disarmament effort since people in Malindi, Kisauni and Nairobi were threatening those who volunteered to surrender their arms.

“The Orma and Wardei communities have confessed to us that they want to surrender but fear being attacked by their enemies who use government firearms,” he asserted.

He said that they have all tools required to recover the arms but did not want to use force, and dismissed the allegations that the guns were thrown into River Tana.

Mwaniki revealed that Rural Border Patrol Unit was formed to check on the activities of Al Shabaab and Al Qaida insurgents along the Kenyan borders before they were deployed in the area after emergence of tribal clash that claimed lives of over 100 people.

“We are a group of 84 officers who were deployed in Mombasa to deal with terrorists groups but re-deployed in Tana River. Half of the officers are carrying out operations with GSU  while the other half is engaging locals in a diplomatic strategy to recover the firearms,” he told the media after meeting Pokomo elders at Idhowe village in Tana delta district.

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