NAIROBI, 1 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - Kenyan authorities on Wednesday set on fire nearly 4,000 illicit small arms recovered by police over the past two years in an ongoing effort to curb the proliferation of illegal weapons in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes regions.
"The proliferation and movement of these fire arms within and across the borders have left a trail of agony and destruction," said Kiraitu Murungi, the justice and constitutional affairs minister, who lit the fire to destroy the guns in Nairobi.
Kenya is a signatory to the Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of the Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa, which was signed in 2000.
The destruction of the weapons was in line with the Nairobi Protocol for Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons signed in 2004 by states that had earlier initialled the Nairobi Declaration.
On 21 June, signatories to the declaration and the protocol agreed to set up a centre on small arms to combat the proliferation and use of illicit light weapons and strengthen cooperation in the region.
The Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa (RECSA) will be based in Nairobi.
Signatories to the protocol include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
[This Item is Delivered to the "Africa-English" Service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: Irin@ocha.unon.org or Web: http://www.irinnews.org . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Reposting by commercial sites requires written IRIN permission.]
Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2005