After months of investigations, a journalist from Daily Nation easily managed to buy 3 bullets from the Kenya Police in less than 30 minutes in Maralal, Samburu county.
According to the journalist, the bullets had Kenya Ordinance Factory Corporation (KOFC) labels, which are only supposed to be reserved for the police, military, and other security agencies.
The journalist claimed that he was also offered an AK-47 assault rifle for Ksh130,000. One bullet goes for Ksh450. However, in times of conflict, the prices can shoot up to Ksh600 per bullet.
Police officers in Maralal town are believed to be selling the bullets to middlemen, who later sell them to armed herders in the vast Marti Esiteti forest and other desolate areas for profit.
The easy access to guns, ammunition and other small arms in the arid north, which includes Maralal, Baragoi, Barsaloi, and Marti has created an increasingly militarised society.
Sources in Samburu disclosed that the sale of bullets to armed bandits and cattle rustlers was common in the area that hardly goes a day without an incident of cattle rustling.
Samburu, Turkana, and Pokot counties have had decades of conflicts involving cattle raids. Most herders here own illegal guns that they use them to herd their cattle.
Samburu County commissioner, John Korir, stated that the matter was under investigation and any police officers found to be involved would be prosecuted. The journalist handed over the bullets to him.
Maralal police boss Abbagara Guyo denied knowledge of the practice in the service. But investigations by the journalist revealed that some officers either abetted cattle raids or actively participated in them.