The government has called on Garissa residents holding illegal firearms to take advantage of the remaining two weeks’ amnesty and surrender them.
Speaking at a Garissa hotel during a two-days sensitization workshop for the peace committees, the clergy, elders, opinion leaders and the youth from Garissa on the AU amnesty on illegal arms area county commissioner Meru Mwangi said no charges will be preferred against those who surrender the illegal arms within the amnesty period.
“I want to urge Garissa residents especially those in conflict zones where we believe harbors many illegal arms to take advantage of the remaining two weeks to surrender the illegal arms,” Mwangi said.
“We know the dangers posed by arms in the wrong hands and that is why we have consistently told our citizens to surrender the arms because the government has the sole authority of providing security,” he added.
Mwangi said the county has made tremendous progress in matters security that he attributed to the good working relationship between the government agencies and the residents together with their leaders.
The county commissioner commended the peace committees from the seven sub counties of Hulugho, Fafi, Lagdera, Dadaab, Balambala, Ijara and Garisa for discharging their mandates well.
“The committees have helped us in quelling conflicts that could have escalated into bloody conflicts. The close working relationship we have had with them has continued to pay dividends,” he noted.
An official from the Kenya national focal point Charles Munyalu said that the vision of AU was that all illegal guns should be silent come 2020, something he said the county was working hard to achieve.
“We are yet to achieve this objective. However, we are out to ensure that citizens are aware of that objective and fully cooperate towards ensuring that it succeeds,” Munyalu said.
According to the Annual State of the National Security Report, its estimated that there are between 580,000 to 650,000 illicit arms circulating in the country which have been used to perpetuate conflicts thus increasingly posing significant socio-economic, political and security risks countrywide.
The report further states that conflicts in the neighbouring countries as well as weak control measures in international transfer of arms have also facilitated arms availability.
“In an effort to address the proliferation of illicit arms, the Government has developed a draft National Policy on Small Arms and Light Weapons Management Bill,” says the report.
The arms are particularly among the pastoralist communities in North Rift, North Eastern and Upper Eastern.
The Government says proliferation of small arms and ammunition has increasingly posed significant security threats since holders use them to perpetuate conflicts.
By Jacob Songok