Kenya to set up center to tackle proliferation of small arms

NAIROBI — Kenya’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved the establishment of the Regional Center on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa, and the Bordering States (RECSA).

A statement issued after the cabinet meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta said the center will address the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons whose effects are seen in the insecurity occasioned in both urban and rural parts of the country.

“It is for this reason that, Kenya has been at the forefront in ensuring that the issue of curbing the proliferation of small arms remains in the agenda regionally and globally,” the statement said.

Proliferation of small arms is to blame for tribal skirmishes and cattle rustling in Kenya’s northern frontier districts.

The East African nation is surrounded by neighboring countries that for a long time experienced civil strife which immensely contributed to the influx of the illegal weapons into the hands of gangsters and cattle rustlers.

In rural northern Kenya, small arms have replaced traditional weapons in ethnic warfare over pasture, water and livestock.

The move comes as the government has issued a one week ultimatum on feuding communities in northwest region in possession of illegally acquired firearms to register, surrender them or face the full force of the law.

National Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery on Sunday warned that the government will not condone acts of lawlessness.

The establishment of the center came as the East African nation has been battling with threats from Al-Shabaab from Somalia who have vowed reprisals following Kenyan army’s cross border intervention.