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Drug abuse, illicit guns threaten security, youths in Kenya

17 October 2013, 07:26 Robert Manyara

Kitale - Kenya has deployed three special security units to crackdown on increased use of drugs and illicit guns threatening security and spoiling unemployed youths in counties in northwest region.

The move followed concerns from tribal leaders over the widespread drug abuse and existence of illegal guns fueling crime and deteriorating security.

Trans-Nzoia County Police Commander Lillian Okembo said on Wednesday that security forces have been posted to the county to counter the emerging security threats blamed on the use of drugs and illegal guns.

Poverty and lack of employment is forcing many young Kenyans to resort to criminal activities to eke a living.

Drug abuse among the youth has gained root and heightened crime in the two counties, where leaders are worried that the menace will be getting worse unless drastic measures are put in place.

An upsurge of crime in Bungoma County in the past months left over 30 people dead and dozens others wounded. In Trans-Nzoia, over 15 people, including three police officers, were killed by criminals. Most of the guns used were traded from neighboring Uganda.

"The special security units have been deployed in the region to stem escalating insecurity fueled by drug abuse and the existence of illegal guns," said Okembo.

For the past two weeks, security agencies have held meetings to formulate strategies on curbing crime and arresting the perpetrators. Local lawmakers Nangabo and Chris Wamalwa sounded an alarm that the emerging trend on drug abuse and alcoholic consumption in the area is a serious threat to security and development.

Nangabo and Wamalwa noted that unemployed youths, including students, engaged in the abuse of drugs, calling for the relevant agencies to step up measures to curb the vice.

"Drug abuse among the youth is becoming a major concern and we urge the various actors to address the problem and save the lives of the youths involved," Nangabo said.

The legislators decried high use of bhang among the young people, saying the practice is spoiling the future of the affected group.

"The use of bhang has become a tradition to many youths. It is smoked in the public and unless it is checked, the future of our youths is ruined," said Nangabo.

Nangabo regretted that drug dealers operate with impunity, urging both national and county governments to act and arrest the situation.

"The sale of drugs such as bhang has to stop because we are not going to allow the future of our youths ruined. Let the relevant agencies crack down the menace," she said.

Wamalwa asked the local parents to be in the forefront to instill upright moral standard among their children to eradicate the drugs abuse problem.

"As parents we must take up our roles seriously. Don't overlook bad deeds by our children. We should mould them and instill good moral standards," Wamalwa said.

- Xinhua


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