The Police Service has announced that the mandatory registration of all firearms will now be extended to reservists.
Inspector-General of police Hillary Mutyambai said the listing, which at first affected firearms in the hands of civilians, will henceforth include the National Police Reservists. He warned that after the registration deadline, anyone found in possession of an unregistered firearm will be treated as a combatant.
“The National Police Service would like to categorically state that the mandatory digitisation 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 yesterday.
He said the move comes amid concerns over the proliferation of unregistered firearms in the hands of police reservists that has continued unabated for the last 50 years.
Mr Mutyambai said that the unregistered guns can and have easily been used in crime, and that it’s much harder for security agencies to trace such activities when gun owners cannot be identified.
“While the handling, trading or possession of firearms without a license is criminalised under Kenyan law, indeed, the stemming of unregistered guns can therefore not be an option for a country such as ours, surrounded by unstable neighbours,” he said.
The IG ordered all reservists to submit themselves to the verification and registration process, which will involve, ballistic analysis by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, biometric registration, labelling of weapons, shooting and practice among others.
Meanwhile, two MPs from Samburu County want the government to return the guns it confiscated from reservists two weeks ago. They argued that the disarmament by the Ministry of Interior and the IG had left residents, especially those living in Samburu North, exposed to external attacks.
Speaking separately after visiting families affected by last month’s attack in Suyian Village, Samburu North MP Alois Lentoimaga and his Samburu West counterpart Naisula Lesuuda said the government should return the guns to the reservists for them to protect their communities from bandits and cattle raiders.
Contacted, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said the firearms were taken away from the reservists as part of investigations into the frequent killings in Samburu, Baringo and Pokot counties.
“The guns are currently in Nairobi where ballistic tests are being done to establish if the reservists may have been involved in those killings. They will be returned after investigations are over,” he said.