Police in Nairobi are concerned with the rising use of homemade guns by criminals committing violent crimes.
For the last three months, police have recovered at least 10 homemade guns capable of firing from suspected robbers in Eastlands, Riruta and Kikuyu areas.
Most of the homemade guns were loaded with ammunition ready to be used. Intelligence officers are concerned that criminals have found someone who manufactures the weapons after security agents reduced the influx of illicit guns into the city.
A crime report at Kabete police station reveals that on March 21, detectives acting on a tip-off pursued suspects on a motorcycle along Waiyaki Way, through Uthiru roundabout onto Naivasha Road towards Kawagware. Police finally intercepted the motorbike at Kathondeki where two pillion riders jumped off and ran into a nappier grass farm before engaging the police in a shootout.
Police shot one suspect dead, while the other escaped, and recovered a homemade gun loaded with three bullets and a red beret.
According to a police report, a homemade pistol was also recovered from four suspected robbers in Riruta on March 20.
The four suspects, who were on a motorcycle at the Kikuyu/Kahuho road junction, had attempted to snatch a handbag from a woman who had just alighted from a matatu.
Police officers on patrol responded to the victim’s distress call and shot dead two suspects in their 20s and recovered a homemade pistol with two bullets along with a motorcycle whose registration had been tampered with.
On March 19, yet another homemade gun was recovered, following a shootout between police and suspected robbers in Kayole’s Soweto slum during which one suspect was shot dead.
The second suspect was shot dead in an open field in Saika estate and a homemade pistol with four bullets was recovered from him.
In another incident in Kayole, police pursuing four suspects who were robbing pedestrians at Kayole junction on February 2 shot and killed two of them and recovered a homemade gun with three bullets.
On the same day, police on patrol in Komarock accosted four suspected robbers and a gun battle ensued during which one suspect was shot dead and a homemade gun with five bullets recovered. His accomplices escaped.
These are just some of the many cases in which police have recovered homemade guns from criminals, raising questions as to their availability and source.
Flying Squad boss Said Kiprono said they are alarmed by the increase in the use of such weapons and are investigating their source.
“They are very rudimentary but effective weapons being used to commit crimes.
“We believe they are being made by some welders who might have an idea of how a gun operates,” said Kiprono.
“However, they cannot fire rapidly because they lack the self-eject mechanism for cartridges. It can fire once and criminals use them to facilitate escape when they are confronted by police. We don’t think they are being mass produced.”
Kiprono said they are tracking the source and are confident they will soon get a breakthrough.