All fired up

Focus-Science and Technology - - Eye Opener - PHOTO: CAM­ERA PRESS/DAI KUROWAKA

In Novem­ber last year, some 5,250 seized firearms were ar­ranged into three 4.5m-high piles, be­fore be­ing doused with fuel and set alight by Kenyan au­thor­i­ties. The bon­fire, which took place near Nairobi, was at­tended by the coun­try’s deputy pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto. It is hoped that the blaze will de­ter peo­ple from own­ing firearms and en­cour­age oth­ers to sur­ren­der their weapons.

Kenyan gun laws are strict, and res­i­dents have to go through a num­ber of con­trols and checks to own a firearm. De­spite this, hun­dreds of guns are smug­gled into the coun­try each year, par­tic­u­larly via the bor­der with neigh­bour­ing So­ma­lia. It is es­ti­mated that around half a mil­lion guns are il­le­gally held by civil­ians in Kenya, and are used for poach­ing, rob­beries and ex­trem­ist vi­o­lence.

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