The National Police Service, NPS, has insisted that the mandatory digitization of all firearms in the hands of civilians is firmly on course. Here is the Presser by the Inspector General of the NPS, Hillary Mutyambai;
‘The National Police Service would like to categorically state that the mandatory digitization of all firearms in the hands of civilians is on course, and has now extended to the registration of firearms in the hands of all National Police reservists without exception.
Following the deadline of registration, anyone found in possession of an unregistered firearm will be treated as a combatant. While the handling, trading or possession of firearms without a license is criminalized under Kenyan law indeed, is with great concern that we have observed the proliferation of unregistered firearms in the hands of police reservists that has unfortunately continued unabated over the last 50 years.
It is no secret that unregistered guns can and have been easily used for criminal activities and it is much harder for security agencies to trace such activities when gun owners cannot be identified. The stemming of unregistered guns can therefore not be an option for a country such as ours, surrounded by unstable neighbours in the region. This situation also poses a significant threat to national security, as there is a clear and present danger to the lives and livelihoods of many Kenyans.
We therefore urge every genuine and peace loving police reservist to submit themselves to the verification and registration process which involve, ballistic analysis by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, biometric registration, labelling of weapons, shooting practice among others.
The aim of the vetting is first and foremost, the complete elimination of guns in the wrong hands. We will also talk to, train and re-register the guns in the hands of the reservists in the entire country; ensuring guns are in the hands of well trained and qualified persons.
The vetting exercise will help in weeding out reservists who might be compromised and those advanced in age. The disarming of police reservists will immediately take priority in the North Rift which has recently experienced a spike of artificial criminal and politically instigated inter communal tensions.
Last week, we sent a contingent of GSU, ASTU. and RDU officers to support the Rift Valley security team as a precursor to stiff measures to be undertaken to curb further escalation of the cattle rustling and inter-communal strife in the area.
The team confirmed the presence of a ring of cartels involved in cattle rustling, for selfish economic gain, and who sometimes use unregistered KPR ammunitions to intimidate, maim, and even kill innocent victims. The government will not allow the senseless arming of citizens against other citizens, and we warn all concerned not to test our resolve.
As such, I directed that officers be deployed in the following areas to provide security buffers to warring neighbouring communities, ASTU officers have set camp in Kamilei, Mwiteta and Wagwachi along the border of Baringo and Laikipia counties. GSU officers have been deployed at Kabyego between West Pokot and Marakwet counties, Tiati in Baringo South, Kapedo and Lokori along Pokot and Turkana counties.
GSU camp at Shaba has been moved to Archers post. RDU has been deployed to Mlango, a corridor between Isiolo and Laikipia counties. Further a patrol base at Kainuk has been beefed with heavy presence of police offices.
We further implore politicians and other leaders, specifically those from the North Rift communities to exercise sobriety and encourage their constituents to engage in constructive social economic activities; as well as peaceful coexistence and neighbourliness as a better option to strife which ends up leaving communities more vulnerable and despondent.
Indeed the above steps are part of moves taken to bolster police reforms in the country. Other reforms in the sector have already taken shape and have seen the digital registration of all police officers, Kenya Prisons Service officers as well as those serving in the National Government as Administration Officers.
In the ongoing registration of civilian firearm holders, the government has recorded the recovery of 24,000 rounds of ammunition. In addion 90,000 rounds of ammunition have been recovered from NPR’s.
It remains the constitutional mandate of the Police to protect members of our communities and their properties.
We therefore wish to ask for cooperation amongst members of the general public during this exercise.’