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Kenya opens first Sh4bn arms plant

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President Uhuru Kenyatta during the commissioning of the Small Arms Factory at the National Security Industries at Ruiru, Kiambu County. PHOTO | PSCU

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Summary

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday opened the country’s first small arms factory in Ruiru as Kenya seeks to cut cost of acquiring weapons for the security forces.
  • The Sh4 billion plant has a single-shift annual production capacity of 12,000 assault rifles and will be sourcing 60 per cent of the raw materials locally.
  • This is the second weapons-making plant after the Kenya Ordnance Factories Corporation (KOFC) in Eldoret that was opened in 1997 and manufactures bullets.

President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday opened the country’s first small arms factory in Ruiru as Kenya seeks to cut cost of acquiring weapons for the security forces.

The Sh4 billion plant has a single-shift annual production capacity of 12,000 assault rifles and will be sourcing 60 per cent of the raw materials locally.

This is the second weapons-making plant after the Kenya Ordnance Factories Corporation (KOFC) in Eldoret that was opened in 1997 and manufactures bullets.

The opening of the factory comes at a time the country has increased its spending on weapons to defend its territory against the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terrorists who have in the past targeted civilians and security forces in major towns and border towns.

“This ground breaking initiative will allow us to lay the foundation for addressing the high cost of weapons acquisition, free us from the complex foreign export approval processes currently in place, provide Kenya with greater security sector independence and flexibility, and allow Kenya to design and produce high-quality weapons,” President Kenyatta said.

Kenya joins other African nations that locally manufacture small arms including Uganda, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.

The country has in recent years increased it budgetary allocations for acquisition of weapons like guns helicopters, transport planes and jet fighters at the back of leading the fight against Al-Shabaab terrorists.

Kenya has alongside Uganda been leading the African Union Mission in Somalia efforts against the terrorists who have been blamed for attacks on Kenyan soil, including abduction of foreign workers.