Findings by the Nairobi police have revealed that gangs in Kayole and Eastleigh regions are making use of homemade guns to carry out criminal activities.
In recent times, police have found a growing number of homemade guns on arrested young gang members. This year, not less than 25 homemade guns have been recovered in gang-ridden areas.
In the month of June alone, at least 15 home-made pistols have been recovered with over half seen on gang members from either Kayole or Eastleigh. The majority of the homemade guns were discovered on suspects killed by police. Police say the guns are becoming more sophisticated and lethal with the ability to discharge bullets and kill.
This has raised concerns among the police tasked with the duty of keeping the populace safe. Flying Squad chief Said Kiprono said in March that the gang members use these guns to “facilitate escape when they are confronted by police.”
Kiprono said the guns are very rudimentary but effective weapons and it’s presumed that they are being made by some welders who apparently have an idea of how a gun works.
Homemade Guns – Who Makes Them?
The interrogation of arrested gang members (mostly in Mihango, Huruma and Dandora) found with the homemade guns has led to the discovery that the deadly weapons are made by a man simply described as “disabled and notorious.”
Despite questioning and investigations by police, only a little information seems to be available about the unnamed gun-maker. Police speculate that he could be protected by a very dangerous Dandora gang.
The police have however said they are determined to clamp down on the gun-maker and have called on the public to help with information that could lead to his arrest. National Police Service spokesman George Kinoti said that “several criminals have been arrested with them (homemade guns) and they are helping us in our crackdown on the manufacturers and the suppliers.”
Some Gang-Used Guns Are Imported
Police spokesman Kinoti also revealed that some of the guns used by gang members are smuggled into Kenya from the porous borders of nearby countries.
Also, homemade guns are not only in use in Nairobi but other parts of the nation. As a matter of fact, a number of robbery cases and illegal possession of firearms are currently pending in courts nationwide.
Cases Where Homemade Guns Have Been Seized
In Kariobangi, a home-made gun was found on a 40-year-old man named James Maina who shot at policemen when they came to intervene an on-going fight between him and his girlfriend. The police had arrived the scene after receiving a call from the lady.
On Monday, June 19, police on two different occasions — one in Mowlem and the other in Kayole, shot two robbers. Each of them was found in possession of a locally made gun.
Also on Monday, a brave teenage girl in Kisimu helped her father disarm a robber who visited their home at 9.30 pm. The robber escaped leaving behind a gun which police say was stolen from one of their administration camps in 2015.
In the past two weeks, homemade guns have been discovered in Eastleigh’s Muratina Road, Pangani’s Captain Mungai Road Buruburu, Riruta, Makadara, Zimmermann and Soweto.
Kenya Laws on Gun Manufacturing and Possession
In Kenya, unauthorized production or possession of firearms and ammunition of any kind is highly prohibited by the law. The offence is entitled to a minimum of ten years imprisonment as well as fines, depending on the nature of the crime.
On the side of making guns or bullets of any sort, the Firearms Act (CAP. 114) section 9 no. 1 states that, “No person shall manufacture any firearm or ammunition save on behalf of the Government and at a place established and designated for the purpose by, and in accordance with instructions to be issued by, the Minister.” This according to the section, “includes the filling, refilling and other processing of ammunition”.
Coming to gun possession, one is only allowed to carry a gun or bullets if he or she is certified to do so. Section 4 no. 1 of the Firearms Act states that “No person shall purchase, acquire or have in his possession any firearm or ammunition unless he holds a firearm certificate in force at the time”. Moreover, some types of gun are prohibited for certain class of individuals.
A violation of the aforementioned law attracts a sentence of 5-15 years imprisonment depending on the type and nature of the arm (gun) or ammunition in question.
On the other hand, if the person is carrying an expired certificate of possession at the time of interception, he or she will be liable to pay a fine which will be specified according to how long ago the certificate has been expired or otherwise, a sentence of not more than 2 years imprisonment on failure to pay the fine.