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Kenya Burns Weapons in Anticrime Crackdown

Kenyan officials made a bonfire of 1,000 illegal firearms at a city park today to draw attention to efforts to stop the spread of light weapons in the region. Piled up were AK-47 assault rifles, the weapon of choice among Kenya’s urban robbers and rural cattle rustlers, as well as assorted pistols, rifles and grenade launchers, all seized from criminals. Many of the weapons had made their way to Africa after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Kenya’s porous border with Somalia, a lawless state without a national government, is considered the prime entry route in the region. “Let us not look at the monetary value of these weapons but at the pain that humanity has been spared by putting these weapons out of circulation,” said Vice President Michael Wamalwa, who set fire to the stack, which had been doused with diesel fuel, as hundreds of people looked on at Uhuru Gardens. The location was not far from where former President Daniel arap Moi set fire in 1989 to 2,500 ivory tusks that had been seized from poachers. That act drew international attention and put Kenya on the map in the fight to preserve wildlife. Kenya hopes to play a similar role when it comes to guns, which are relatively easy to come by here despite being outlawed for anyone except security officers. Full Story

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