Fear on the Run: Ex-Convict Caught with Illegal Firearms Under Scrutiny by Kenyan Authorities

Struggling with a surge in violent crime, Kenya is the stage of BBC Africa Eye’s documentary, where the focus is on a reformed criminal urging others to surrender their illegal firearms, one by one.

In a somber confession, a young man admits his darkest deed was murder, carried out while under the influence of drugs, a crime he equated to swatting a fly.

The protagonist, Samuel, not his actual name, meets with King Kafu, a former convict turned advocate against crime, in Kisumu, a city near Lake Victoria in Kenya’s west, to hand over an AK47 he had stashed away.

Motivated by the fear of his family enduring hunger and harm, Samuel stresses the importance of ensuring their well-being, should something unfortunate happen to him.

Official data reveals a sharp rise in armed robberies in Kenya, with illegal firearms regularly flowing in through the country’s unguarded borders, granting civilians unprecedented access to weapons in East Africa.

The latest statistics from Small Arms Survey estimate that Kenya’s civilian population possesses roughly 750,000 firearms, surpassing the combined arsenals of the country’s military and police forces.

King Kafu plays a pivotal role as an intermediary between the public willing to surrender their guns and the law enforcement agencies, leveraging his personal experiences to dissuade others from the criminal path.

His journey began at fifteen as a petty thief, escalating to more serious crimes like armed robbery, leading to a four-year prison sentence in 2003 for his transgressions.

On a mission to redeem himself, Kafu assisted Samuel in coordinating the surrender of his illegal weapon to the local police under the protection of an established amnesty program.

While preparing to finalize the exchange, Samuel abruptly goes missing, leaving Kafu to reflect on the challenges of his former life and the importance of his role as a radio host combating gun violence.

Haunted by the fates of his delinquent friends and inspired to become an advocate, Kafu emphasizes the transformative power of choosing a lawful path and returning illegal firearms to the authorities.

Despite the government’s efforts to curb gun-related crimes through amnesty programs, the residual presence of illegal firearms continues to pose a significant threat in Kenya.

An anonymous criminal disclosed that obtaining a firearm in Kenya was as easy as buying one for a modest amount, underscoring the prevalence of illicit weapons in the country.

Existing fears of retaliation deter individuals from relinquishing their firearms, heightened by the documented cases of extrajudicial killings by law enforcement, disproportionately impacting vulnerable populations.

Accompanied by BBC Africa Eye, Kafu meets a conflicted man named John, contemplating the surrender of his firearm, rattled by concerns over potential repercussions and a lack of trust in law enforcement.

Despite allegations linking Kenyan police to illicit firearms trading, there was no formal response from the authorities when BBC Africa Eye reached out for clarification.

In an act of solidarity, Kafu accompanies John to the police station, facilitating the safe handover of the firearm, reinforced by the official’s commitment to ensuring their protection under the amnesty program.

While the return of a weapon signifies a small step towards reducing gun violence, Kafu views it as a gesture of goodwill that may inspire others to relinquish their firearms and break free from the cycle of crime.

Kafu advocates for the government’s transparency and support system for those willing to surrender their illicit possessions, fostering a sense of security and compassion towards these individuals who seek redemption.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More