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Police get new anti-riot gear to combat violence

By Cyrus Ombati | May 3rd 2016

The police force has acquired new anti-riot equipment.

About 20 water cannons imported from China were driven to Nairobi's General Service Unit in Ruaraka on Saturday.

They will be distributed to various areas deemed hotspots for violent protests, officials said.

The cannons was driven aboard trailers under escort of armed officers after being offloaded at the Mombasa port.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said there was an increase in rioting in the country hence the need for the procurement of the gear.

The gear was procured for an undisclosed amount of money and will be ready for use this month.

"You will no longer throw stones at police during riots. We are bringing in anti-riot gear that will help them deal with rioters who we see are increasing," Mr Nkaissery said last week.

Inasmuch as the Constitution guarantees freedom of assembly and picketing he said, those organising such events should do so with sobriety.

"Let us engage in responsible protests to send the message home. We will not tolerate violent protests at all," he said.

The gear includes special clothes for police, clubs and special anti-riot water cannons. The purchase was catered for by the Sh3.8 billion allocated to the security sector to address equipment challenges.

As part of efforts to enhance police operations in the war on terror, 30 armoured personnel carriers were bought and distributed to various parts of the country. They were shared among the regular police and Administration Police.

The vehicles were delivered to the General Service Unit headquarters in February after they were shipped into the country from China at an unknown cost. Officials had said they would be deployed to the main border areas, especially the Kenya-Somalia border, to help fight terrorism.

And 25 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPS) have been purchased and were expected in the country in May to be deployed to protect officers against improvised explosive devices.

Dozens of police officers have been killed in improvised explosive device-related attacks along the Kenya-Somalia border and the acquisition is aimed at preventing further loss of life. "An additional 25 MRAPS that provide enhanced protection against improvised explosive devices will be delivered by May," said Nkaissery. More than 2000 vehicles have also been leased for police.

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