CS Matiang'i suspends issuing of licences to firearm dealers
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has suspended issuing of licences to firearm dealers in the country.
Dr Matiang’i on Wednesday said the suspension follows the crackdown on illegal firearm dealers and holders that started last year.
Speaking during a security meeting in Mombasa, where he met all regional and county security bosses, Dr Matiang’i said the suspension would stay in place until a report on their crackdown is released and then matter reviewed by the Nation Security Council.
“We had 33 dealers and we have managed to narrow them down to 15. We shall continue to mop up all the illegal operators and those who own firearms illegally,” said Dr Matiang’i.
He said in the operation launched last year, the government has managed to destroy, 8628 illegal firearms and 370,000 ammunitions.
The minister said the procedures instituted last year in acquisition and holding of firearms by civilians will continue this year to ensure only those properly vetted acquire them.
At the same time, the CS announced that the war on drugs and organized crime will be intensified this year.
The CS had given ultimatum to the holders to surrender their firearms for verification by the Firearms and Licensing Board.
At least 4,000 civilian firearm holders were declared armed and dangerous following the expiry of the ultimatum.
Dr Matiang’i had said that the government was focused on cleaning up the mess at the bureau which had long time allowed criminal syndicates to assist applicants to get licences by manipulating the systems and bypassing existing stringent rule.
During the operation some lawmakers protested that the move was exposing them to criminals.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of firearms were recovered in the North Rift.
Some National Police Reserve (NPR) were also disarmed in the operation.
The operation further saw Dr Matiang’i introduce a biometric cards for the gun holders in a bid to curb crimes that involve the use of weapons.
The the biometric card with a microchip would have a gun holder’s details, he said as he gave made the announcement last year in Mombasa.
Kenyan civilians had acquired 70,000 guns for personal use by June 2018, Geneva-based Small Arms Survey says. However, not more than 10,000 of them were registered by last year.