Nairobi News

General

Crackdown on thugs who hire and sell guns

That a gang of criminals is operating several armouries in Nairobi should worry every resident.

The deadly arsenal our investigations found cannot be equalled in some of our police stations.

So well stocked are the armouries, in the crime infested slums of Dandora, Kiamaiko, Kibera, Korogocho and Mathare that they could sustain an army of criminals for months.

Investigations point to an elaborate network of criminals operating both within and beyond our borders.

According to the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) government agency charged with fighting the proliferation of guns within our borders, the arsenal is smuggled into the country by big time gun-runners, mainly from war-torn Somalia and to a lesser extent, Ethiopia, who then spirit them to their contact men in Eastleigh.

It is from a hideout in Eastleigh that the local arms merchants take over, moving the weapons to their armouries in the slums, using ambulances and meat vans so as not to attract the attention of the police.

For as little as Sh20,000 anyone can get a revolver and for just Sh10,000 more an AK 47 that can shoot 10 bullets a second. Anyone up to mischief can get these guns.

It did not help much to see thugs firing at each other during a recent brawl over the Dandora dump site.

It is very clear that it is these armouries that are sustaining crimes such as murders, violent robberies and carjackings throughout the county.

It is also apparent that this illicit trade must be going on with the knowledge and connivance of some senior police officers.

How else would one explain the fact that no effort is being taken to crack down on these armouries and their owners, in spite of all leads being offered by SALW.

Two things are possible: That there is minimal or no information sharing between the SALW and the mainstream police, or there is lack of goodwill from one or both of these agencies to crack down on the armouries. 

It is very clear that unless these armouries are destroyed and the arms merchants apprehended, the fight against illegal guns will never be won.

The police must move fast to dismantle corrupt networks within its ranks and in their place appoint officers truly committed to fighting crime in our county.

Fight against runaway crime will be impossible without getting to the source of the arms. The information is out there, police only need to take their job more seriously.

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