Hundreds of police reservists in Marsabit County are unsettled following a directive to surrender their guns and bullets for fresh vetting.
Following a two-day vetting that begun on Tuesday, majority of the National Police Reservists (NPRs) present were uneasy about going home without their guns which they were supposed to collect later.
According to Marsabit County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo, the aim of the vetting is to talk to, train and re-register the guns in the hands of the reservists in the entire country.
Mr Kitiyo explained that the exercise is just a normal vetting process aimed at ensuring prescribed possession of guns in the county.
“This is just a normal gun vetting exercise internally organised by the county security apparatus. We don’t intend to impound the guns that are in the hands of the NPRs,” Mr Kitiyo said.
He dismissed claims that the operation is a disarmament procedure as alleged by some residents, saying the national government previously did the same to reservists in Moyale Sub-County in 2013.
The administrator added that the ongoing vetting process might also involve ballistic analysis by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to unearth guns that could have been used in the past in ethnic clashes in the county.
He said that 15 guns that were in the hands of some reservists have been missing since November 2018 after ethnic clashes in some parts of the county.
The county commissioner issued a stern warning to those who could be in possession of those guns to surrender them before the government begins a serious pursuit.
The vetting, which was conducted in Marsabit town and saw NPRs arriving at the vetting venue in large numbers, adorned in their uniforms and with their guns, targets reservists from all the eight sub-counties.
CALL TO DISARM
Meanwhile, Frontier Alliance Party National Chairman Barille Abduba has called on the government to disarm all the NPRs in Marsabit saying it is the only permanent solution to ending endemic ethnic clashes in the county.
While speaking to the Nation by phone, Mr Barille insisted that most of the ethnic clashes in the county are instigated by the reservists.
He said that some NPRs have turned into militias and regroup into ethnic cocoons.
Mr Barille alleged that in most cases, past ethnic flare-ups in the county were reportedly either instigated by NPRs, somehow had a hand in them or allowed their guns to be used in the lawbreaking.
“The ethnic clashes in Marsabit County will only be a thing of the past the moment all the NPRs are disarmed”, Mr Barille said.