Hundreds of pastoralists crowded a security command centre in Isiolo district to return illegal guns before the January 21, 2010 amnesty deadline. By Monday January 4, 2010, 164 illegal guns and 7,939 rounds of ammunition had been surrendered. As police displayed a cache of surrendered arms, pastoralist communities in Isiolo were worried about their security. They argue that if their neighbouring rivals fail to return firearms, peace would become elusive in the pastoralist areas.
A contingent of more than 1,000 Kenya Administration Police (AP) and General Service Unit (GSU) security officers have set up a camp at Buuri District, just seven kilometres outside Isiolo District, in preparation for the forceful disarmament after the amnesty period. The government postponed the disarmament exercise, which was to start on Christmas Eve January 21 January.
This was to ensure that pastoralist communities returned the illicit firearms voluntarily to avoid forced disarmament.
The exercise follows a spate of banditry attacks resulting to several deaths with scores nurs ing injuries in hospital. In November 2009, more than 100 armed cattle rustlers overpowered security personnel in Isiolo district. They stole more than 820 cattle and killed three policemen, three reservists and a herdsman. More than 300 police officers have since been deployed to the area to beef up security.
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