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Shooting to unwind: Kenyans finding thrill in the muzzle

National Gun Owners Association of Kenya members during a training session at a shooting range at Kirigiti in Kiambu. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG
National Gun Owners Association of Kenya members during a training session at a shooting range at Kirigiti in Kiambu. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

On a chilly Thursday morning in Kiambu, we drive to the evergreen slopes of Kirigiti where a murram road leads to an abandoned quarry enclosed with an electric wire. It feels like we are entering an army base.

“The range is hot eyes and ears,” men shouted as they fired shots in quick succession.

Welcome to the National Gun Owners Association (Ngoa) shooting range. A host of calm and alert men that could pass for a recce squad —going by the side-pocketed trousers, army boots and half jackets, received us. Don’t be fooled, these are civilians who find good, clean fun from the crackle of gunfire.

The weekday shooting sessions subtly meant they run their own show. I am introduced to a technology expert, a pilot, an engineer and several businessmen. On its wall of fame, there are names inscribed of the who’s who in Kenya.  On the plaque, among many, is Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, a former patron who left the seat to Anthony Muchiri, Kenya’s ambassador to Cuba.  Coming to the Kirigiti range does not only give these gun fans a muzzle thrill, they also practise to gain perfection, network and learn safety.

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