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State to mop up illegal arms as amnesty ends

By Fred Kibor | October 1st 2019

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

There will be no mercy for illegal gun holders in six Rift Valley counties targeted for disarmament that starts today.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya said the Government would forcefully take the weapons from those who refused to surrender them.

“We commend individuals who used the amnesty period to surrender the illegal guns, but unfortunately, some are still holding the guns. Those are the ones we will be looking for and it will not be business as usual,” Mr Natembeya said.

The administrator spoke in Uasin Gishu County after inspecting various development projects on Friday. He said the disarmament exercise would have started in September, but an African Union resolution had declared it to be an amnesty month.

The administrator said the exercise to forcefully disarm residents of Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, West Pokot, Turkana, Samburu and Laikipia Counties would kick off this month.

“If you fail to surrender the guns, you know what will happen to you. I am warning those thinking of holding onto the guns. We want to applaud the Turkana community for surrendering the most guns so far in the region.”

Natembeya said the Government was determined to wipe out insecurity in the North Rift region “to allow development to take root”. He added that only police officers and licensed gun holders would be allowed to have weapons.

“This time around we will not rest until all arms are collected, including pistols, homemade guns or whatever. The number of illegal guns will not matter because we know even one gun in the village is a source of terror.”

The tough talking commissioner said the government’s decision to disband the National Police Reservists (NPRs) still stood until they could be recruited competitively.

Closed chapter

“The story about NPRs is a closed chapter. When time comes, we will thoroughly vet them and after training we shall put them under one command, unlike previously when they have been serving their communities at home,” Natembeya said.

He ordered reservists whose guns had been confiscated by the Government to return their police uniforms.

“At the moment we do not have police reservists. Those still possessing the uniforms are masqueraders and should return them with immediate effect.”

Natembeya also inspected the Sh1.2 billion Kipkaren water works that will serve Uasin Gishu and Nandi counties, and the Sh5 billion Eldoret bypass.

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