than 7,000 small arms used in escorting marine vessels into the country
are still under police custody, Inspector general of police David
Kimaiyo has said.
The assorted arms were surrendered to the police for safe custody
upon arrival of vessels at the port of Mombasa. According to Kimaiyo,
vessels with private escort have their security team surrender their
arms before going into the main land.
Most specialized private security companies providing armed maritime
security escorts for vessels usually have their men alight upon arrival
in Mombasa. This is to allow the offloading of cargo.
They are required by the law to surrender their arms for safety and
security reasons and collect them when the vessel is leaving the
According to Mombasa County Police boss Njoroge Mbugu, the security
men cannot be allowed to move around with the firearms since they go
into the city where they mingle with the public.
“This is a security measure since some of them even go to relax at
entertainment spots. They cannot be allowed into the main land armed so
they keep the firearms with us,” said Mbugu.
However, IG has said most of the arms remain uncollected with some
dating years back. Kimaiyo was speaking in Mombasa during the recent
forum on port efficiency and trade facilitation.
He called on all those who have deposited their fire arms under the
police for safe custody to collect them when leaving the country.
“We have more than 7,000 firearms that cannot be accounted for as a
result of armed guards escorting ships to Mombasa. They deposit their
ammo with the police but fail to collect them. We want all firearms
collected upon departure of vessels at the port,” said Kimaiyo.
The arms were being carried along in readiness for piracy and other
attacks while at sea. However, piracy has over the last few years gone
down, due to various interventions.
This comes as the country remains a hub of specialized private
security companies that offer armed defense services to the private
sector and governments.
The country has been identified as the base of specialized security
companies due the growing security needs by governments, humanitarian
groups and business organizations with interests in conflict zones like
South Sudan, northern Uganda, and parts of southern and eastern
Ethiopia, Somali and the Indian Ocean.
The country hosts dozens of private security companies most of which
are run by Special Forces veterans from the United States and the
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international
shipping since the second phase of the Somali civic war in the early
Since 2005, many international organizations, including the
international Maritime Organization and the world food programme have
expressed concern over the rise in acts of piracy which has impeded the
delivery of shipments.
These forced shipping companies to seek services of private escorts
for their vessels through the pirate infested Somali waters into the
According to Kimaiyo, the arms can only be kept under safe custody
for a period of between 4 to 30 days, a period which a vessel is
expected to have left the port.
Currently, average turnaround for vessels at the port has improved
to three days compared to the previous four days. “We don’t expect these
firearms to over stay in police custody,” said Kimaiyo. He said the
uncollected weapons will be confiscated and taken to Nairobi where they
will be destroyed.
- See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-126316/7000-small-arms-yet-be-claimed-says-ig#sthash.7AqI8FSD.dpuf