By Abdi Hussein
Kajiado County is on the spot over high number of questionable guns in the hands of civilians amounting to increased spate of crimes involving fire arms.
In recent past, a spate of crime involving fire arms has increased with most gun holders brandishing their weapons in social places in slightest provocation.
Firearms holders’ misconduct can lead to revocation of licenses even if they were not in actual possession of the firearm at the time of the incident.
Despite the tough conditions for acquiring civilian firearms in Kenya, some holders with questionable credentials have managed to secure licenses.
Kajiado, Isinya and Kitengela towns are the most affected with gun crimes. Mlolongo town is also not spared.
Young men in Kajiado are adapting to new life style: an eight digit bank account balance from land sale, a fuel guzzler, daily booze, women and a gun to boot. They move in a group patronizing night clubs.
Most of these gun owners are said to have acquired licenses by manipulating the systems through corrupt means to sail through.
Gun totting robbers has been terrorizing and robbing locals in the most cavalier manner. They kill and maim in the slightest possible provocation.
Early last year a male gun holder from a prominent Kitengela family was alleged drugged by a call girl only to lose his pistol in a local lodging. The matter was booked at Kitengela police station. After few days, the girl was arrested at Kayole with her accomplices after committing a crime.
Kajiado gun holders have been a soft target to gangsters eyeing their weapons.
According to the police sources, the prominent figure did not wish to pursue the case to safe his marriage from embarrassment but his license was revoked. The case is ongoing in a Kajiado court.
On 29th May 2019, gun totting robbers robbed an Mpesa shop at Kitengela Norkopir village. The gang struck at 6pm and unleashed terror to an attendant. During the melee that is said to have lasted for less than 15 minutes they shot a man and a child, besides stealing unknown amount of money.
On 7th June 2019 a gangster shot and killed a businessman leaving two others with serious injuries. The incident that occurred at Dreamland area at an Mpesa outlet was booked at Mlolongo police station. Amount of unknown value was stolen
On 14th May 2019 two middle aged assailants killed a police officer attached to Athi River police station in cold blood at his Kitengela rental home. Police constable Erick Mwirigi, 34, was shot in his house at 8pm, few minutes after returning home from work. They stole Sh 10,000 and two mobile phones.
James Nyagienye, caretaker, then told press that the thugs posed as the deceased visitors and walked out of the plot confidently after committing the heinous crime.
“The youthful thugs who struck around 8pm were seemingly on target. They exuded confidence walking out of the plot after the murder. They melted into the dark majestically as they had appeared leaving us in deep shock,” said Nyagienye.
Last month, a night guard in one of the Kitengela night club was roughed up by a gun holder when he stopped him from peeing in the parking lot. James Lekiliara, 40, intimated that the middle aged man threatened to shoot him.
“He cocked his pistol and placed the nozzle on my fore head when on my knees. I almost lost by breath when I was rescued by his fellow revelers who pleaded with him to let me go. It’s too dangerous here in Kitengela nowadays,” said the source.
He never pursued the case fearing reprisals.
Illegally acquired guns
County Press can now reveal most of the gun holders in this region acquired their guns illegally in between 2008-2011.
From the proceeding of ancestral land sale, they could pay a facilitation fee of in between Sh 250,000 – Sh5, 000, 000 to speed up the process without undergoing the rigorous stages to get a permit.
In most social gathering, these weapons protrude from their holsters in a manner to intimidate members of public. A spot check at Kitengela slaughter house indicates most livestock traders are armed.
With land sweet money long gone and fuel guzzlers stalled or sold at a throw away price the ‘poor’ gun holder are said to be hiring their guns to criminals at a reasonable fee.
Source indicate unscrupulous police officers target illegal firearm owners for monthly protection fee raging between Sh 3,000-Sh 5, 000 monthly.
Early 2018 Kajiado County Commissioner David Kipkemei, now serving in Nyeri County in the same capacity, suspended recommendation of new applicant citing massive irregularity and misuse of firearms in hands of civilians.
Isinya Sub-County police Commander Kinyua Mugambi said the security agencies cannot rule out presence of illegal firearms in the hands of civilian in the region. He however said police officers have been on high alert to confiscate firearms suspected to have been issued illegally or misused.
“The law is clear on how a civilian can acquire a firearm. We cannot rule out the illegal guns are being used to commit crime in the region,” said Kinyua.
A week ago gun totting robbers dropped an abandoned AK 47 riffle by road side in Kitengela town when they were confronted by police officers on patrol.
With land sweet money long gone and fuel guzzlers stalled or sold at a throw away price the ‘poor’ gun holder are said to be hiring their guns to criminals at a reasonable fee