Kenya sets fire to 5,000 illegal weapons in crime fight

November 15, 2016 11:50 AM EST

A policeman watches as an assortment of 5250 illicit firearms and small weapons, recovered during various security operations burns during its destruction in Ngong hills near Kenya's capital Nairobi, November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya


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By Humphrey Malalo

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya destroyed some 5,250 illegal firearms by fire on Tuesday as part of efforts to fight crimes like cattle rustling, carjackings and to eliminate threats from terrorism.

The burning destroyed weapons confiscated by law enforcement officials or voluntarily surrendered to agents collecting illegal small arms and light weapons.

"Here in Kenya, small arms are implicated in many deaths, in acts of armed violence, among them inter community conflicts, cattle rustling, violent crimes and poaching," Deputy President William Ruto said before the weapons were set ablaze.

"Their presence has also intensified the threats posed by transnational crimes such as terrorism, human trafficking, piracy and drug trafficking," he said in a speech.

Somalia's al Shabaab, which seeks to overthrow the country's Western-backed government and impose a strict version of sharia law, has carried out regular assaults in neighboring Kenya in recent years as retaliation for Kenya contributing troops to an African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.

Kenya last burnt a similar collection of illegal weapons in 2003, 2005 and 2010.

(Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Tom Heneghan)



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