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Kenya Sets Over 5,000 Seized Guns Ablaze to Deter Crime

Image: Civilians watch as an assortment of 5250 illicit firearms and small weapons, recovered during various security operations
People watch as an assortment of illicit firearms and small weapons burns during its destruction in Ngong hills near Kenya's capital Nairobi, on Nov. 15, 2016. Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

Kenya's deputy president attended the burning of more than 5,250 firearms seized by authorities to discourage circulation of illegal weapons in a country battling extremist violence.

Deputy President William Ruto presided over the blaze of rifles and pistols in three stacks about 15 feet high. Ruto said they were recovered in the country over the past nine years.

Image: A worker arranges an assortment of guns during a public destruction of 5250 illicit firearms
A worker arranges the guns during the destruction ceremony on Tuesday. Thomas Mukoya / Reuters
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A man throws a torch to set alight the weapons as they are burned by Kenyan police. Ben Curtis / AP
Image: A stockpile of illegal arms  goes up in smoke
The arms go up in flames on Tuesday as a demonstration of the Kenyan government's commitment to combat armed crime. Tony Karumba / AFP - Getty Images

Kenya has stringent gun laws and obtaining a license is difficult. Applicants must go through several interviews and background checks. Despite the precautions, hundreds of illegal guns are smuggled into Kenya through porous borders, especially from Somalia, Kenya's war-torn neighbor to the north.

Authorities estimate that at least 500,000 guns are illegally held by civilians. The guns are used in cattle raids, extremist attacks and robberies.