|A KDF Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) arriving at Westgate Mall during the September 2013 terror attack. [PHOTO: STANDARD/FILE]|
By FRANKLINE SUNDAY
NAIROBI: Kenya has been ranked seventh in military expenditure in Africa importing more weapons in 2012 than Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi combined.
This comes amid heightened security concerns in the region that have seen Kenya suffer several terrorist attacks resulting in deaths of hundreds of people in the last three years.
Kenya’s military spending in the last five years has grown by more than 300 per cent, according to data from an independent think-tank that aggregates world-wide defence spending.
Kenya is said to have spent Sh68 billion in military purchases, an increase of more than Sh40 billion from Sh20 billion spent in 2004.
Cumulatively, Kenya has spent over Sh430 billion on its military in the last ten years alone.
In the East African region, Kenya was the leading country in terms of military expenditure with Tanzania coming a distant second and Uganda in third position.
Rwanda and Burundi spent the least on their military and in importing arms and ammunition.
South Africa is said to have been the biggest arms stockpiler spending the most on arms and ammunition in Africa at Sh384 billion in 2012.
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Angola emerged second on the continent spending Sh356 billion with Morocco, Libya and Nigeria summing up the list of top military spenders.
The increasing instances of terrorism and border intrusions in the country have been a major cause of concern the past few years.
Five months ago, Kenyans were treated to brutal scenes of terror when armed terrorists took over a crowded up-market shopping mall in Nairobi.
Prior to the Westgate siege, Kenya had embarked on Operation Linda Nchi, a military operation in Somalia that begun on October 16, 2011.
The data was compiled by Swedish think tank, Swedish International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), which has aggregated military expenditure data over the past 25 years.
Sipri states that the data is based on open sources including a questionnaire sent out annually to all countries in the database.
Other sources of the military expenditure data have been listed as national budget documents.