(Xinhua) -- Kenya on Friday
launched an operation to recover 4,293 unlicensed
firearms held by civilians in the wake of spike in
violent crimes like burglaries and carjacking in major
Hillary Mutyambai, inspector general of Police, said
the mopping up exercise of unlicensed firearms is in
line with the government’s quest to boost public
security which is key to sustain national cohesion and
"There are 4,293 gun owners who are deemed to be in
illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The
owners of these weapons will henceforth be treated as
armed and dangerous criminals," said Mutyambai.
"An operation to apprehend, disarm and discharge the
culprits will immediately begin," he added.
The police boss revealed that the list of unlicensed
gun owners has already been submitted to regional
commanders to pave way for recovery and arrests.
"Further, all firearm dealers are hereby directed to
declare and handover any firearms and ammunitions
surrendered by owners to nearest police stations," said
He directed family members of deceased owners of
unlicensed firearms to surrender them to the Fire Arms
Licensing Bureau or police stations within their
jurisdiction within 24 hours.
Cabinet secretary for Interior and Coordination of
National Government Fred Matiang’i in early February
ordered the Civilian Firearms Licensing Board to
commence a rigorous vetting exercise of all firearms
dealers, civilian firearm holders and shooting range
owners to verify authenticity of their licenses.
Matiang’i was responding to a surge in gun-related
crimes in his quest to overhaul the country’s civilian
gun licensing regime.
The vetting exercise unearthed lapses in the
acquisition, use, possession and transfer of firearms.
According to the police chief, 9,398 registered gun
owners were vetted while 6,958 were cleared.
Likewise, the civilian firearms licensing board
confiscated 1,493 firearms and 21,732 assorted
Mutyambai said that about 4,407 registered gun owners
who never submitted themselves to the mandatory vetting
exercise will have their licenses revoked.
He clarified that firearms are not issued to
civilians for prestige and warned against their misuse
which could attract stiff penalties.