Impact of Small Arms and Light Weapons Proliferation on Security in Turkana County
Kinanga, Gilbert Anyoka
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Small arms and light weapons (SALWs) have contributed to insecurity in various parts of the world. Since their invention, they have been used in many wars and conflicts, including between states, but also at sub-national level. Since SALWs are easily available, relatively cheap and easy to carry or move around with, it has become possible for ordinary people to possess and use them relatively easily. But the illicit, uncontrolled proliferation and misuse of SALWs have severe effects on conflicts, security and human development. Various academic studies have been conducted on the impact of SALWs proliferation on security in the Great Lakes region; however, little research has been done on the conflict-prone Turkana County. This study sought to establish the impact of SALWs proliferation on security in Turkana County. This work had four objectives: first, to investigate the sources of SALWs in Turkana County; secondly, to establish the factors that contribute to proliferation of SALWs in Turkana County; thirdly, to explore the consequences of SALWs proliferation in Turkana County and fourthly to determine ways to reduce proliferation of SALWs and restore security in Turkana County. The study period covered 2000-2012. The sampling technique used was non probabilistic in nature. Under non-probability sampling, convenience and purposive sampling were used. From the region, the targeted sample was 350 participants. Interviews and structured questionnaires were used to gather primary data from the respondents. Simple descriptive statistics was employed to analyze the data and the findings were presented in tables and graphs. The main source of SALWs in Turkana County was infiltration from the neighboring countries such as Uganda, Sudan and Somalia. And the factors that contributed to the proliferation of these arms include customs and traditions, porous borders, lack of internal security among others. As a result of the proliferation of SALWs in the region, people have suffered in many ways. The suffering included the loss of life, injuries, loss of properties and physical displacements. The government and other institutions have tried to eradicate the conflicts in the region by undertaking disarmament and holding peace meetings among the residents. The study recommended appropriate strategies necessary to remedy those conflicts, hence benefitting both the population and policy makers.