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Kenyan police kill 9 gangsters, recover firearms in Nairobi

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-6-21 20:49:52

Kenyan police on Thursday night killed 9 gangsters and recovered five firearms, three vehicles and mobile phones after a fierce shootout at residential estate in Nairobi.

Regional police commander Benson Kibui said they had received a tip off from members of the public and dispatched police officers from the Special Crime Prevention Unit who trailed the gangsters and eventually shot them dead at Mwiki estate.

"We killed nine robbers on Thursday evening and recovered five firearms, a DVD machine, three mobile phones, three vehicles and two ATM cards. We had been trailing the robbers after receiving a tip off from members of the public," Kibui told Xinhua by telephone on Friday.

Kibui said the robbers had engaged the police in an exchange of gunfire before the officers managed to gun them down at Mwiki residential estate in Nairobi.

The gun battle forced motorists to abandon their vehicles along the road to scamper for safety to avoid being caught in the crossfire.

Kibui linked the slain robbers to a series of robberies and carjackings and robberies in the city which has witnessed a spike in crime in the recent days.

The use of firearms in Kenya has risen to alarmingly high levels in the past decade and has been blamed on Kenya's porous borders, especially along the Kenya-Somalia border.

The shooting incident comes as Kenya plans to enact a law that will enhance the control of the proliferation of illicit firearms in the country in order to implement international treaties.

Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms Director Patrick Ochieng' told journalists in Nairobi on Thursday that the bill will enhance penalties so as to deter people from acquiring illegal arms.

"Part of Kenya's strategy on illicit arms is to enact a law that will control proliferation of arms which currently pose a major threat to peace, security and stability," Ochieng said.

A recent survey conducted by the Kenya Action Network on Small Arms indicates that more than 600,000 illegal arms in Kenya and fears have been lingering about some illegal groups using the arms to commit robberies across the East African nation.

The East African nation Kenya is surrounded by neighboring countries that for a long time experienced civil strife which immensely contributed to the influx of the illegal weapons into the hands of gangsters and cattle rustlers.

Experts say most of these weapons circulate through war zones in neighboring countries before finding their way to Kenya's illegal gun markets to intensify conflict among neighboring communities, and in the process blurring the thin line between longstanding ethnic competition and political violence.

The spread of sophisticated weapons also makes it easier for groups under attack to arm themselves for self-defense.
Posted in: Africa