IG: All Police Reservists must also register their firearms
The government has announced that the mandatory registration of all firearms in the country will now be extended to even National Police Reservists (NPRs).
Inspector General of police Hilary Mutyambai said that the exercise which at first affected firearms in the hands of civilians will henceforth include the reservists warning that after the deadline of the registration, anyone found in possession of an unregistered firearm will be treated as a combatant.
In the ongoing registration of civilian firearm holders, he said, the government has recovered 24,000 rounds of ammunition from civilians, in addition to 90,000 such rounds from NPRs.
“The National Police Service would like to categorically state that the mandatory digitization of all firearms in the hands of civilians is on course, and has now extended to the registration of firearms in the hands of all National Police reservists without exception,” said Mr Mutyambai in a statement to newsrooms on Monday.
Mr Mutyambai explained that the move comes amidst concerns over the proliferation of unregistered firearms in the hands of police reservists that has continued unabated over the last 50 years.
He pointed out that the unregistered guns can and have been easily used for criminal activity and it is much harder for security agencies to trace such activity when gun owners cannot be identified, adding that the situation also poses a significant threat to national security as well as a danger to the lives of many Kenyans.
“While the handling, trading or possession of firearms without a license is criminalized under Kenyan law Indeed, the stemming of unregistered guns can therefore not be an option for a country such as ours, surrounded by unstable neighbors in the region,” he said.
The IG called on all police reservists to submit themselves to the verification and registration process which will involve, ballistic analysis by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, biometric registration, labeling of weapons, shooting practice among others.
He stated that the aim of the vetting exercise is the complete elimination of guns in the wrong hands as well as helping in weeding out reservists who might be compromised and those advanced in age.
“We will also to talk to, train and reregister the guns in the hands of the reservists in the entire country, ensuring guns are in the hands of well trained and qualified persons,” said the IG.
Mr Mutyambai said that the disarming of police reservists will begin immediately in the North Rift which has recently experienced a spike of artificial criminal and politically instigated inter communal tensions.
He said he had already sent a contingent of officers from different police units to support the Rift Valley security team as a precursor to stiff measures to be undertaken to curb further escalation of the cattle rustling and inter-communal strife in the area.
The NPS boss said that the team confirmed the presence of a ring of cartels involved in cattle rustling for selfish economic gain who sometimes use unregistered KPR ammunitions to intimidate, maim, and even kill innocent victims.
“As such, I have directed that officers be deployed in the following areas to provide security buffers to warring neighboring communities. The government will not allow the senseless arming of citizens against other citizens, and we warn all concerned not to test our resolve,” he said.
He called on politicians and other leaders, specifically those from the North Rift communities, to exercise sobriety and encourage their constituents to engage in constructive social economic activities; as well as peaceful coexistence and neighborliness.
“Indeed the above steps are part of moves taken to bolster police reforms in the country. Other reforms in the sector have already taken shape and have seen the digital registration of all police officers, Kenya Prisons Service officers as well as those serving in the National Government as Administration Officers,” said Mr Mutyambai.