Tuk Tuk in Old Town Mombasa

Old Town Mombasa (www.willtravellife.com)

At around 7.30 P.M on Sunday evening Khalid Ibrahim Khatri was relaxing with friends along Ndia Kuu near Masjid Shikelly like he does on many evenings. Unknown to him, a gunman was planning to end his life at that spot. An unknown gunman opened fire. Khalid’s quick instincts may have saved his life as he was able to fire back immediately discharging his firearm twice according to eyewitness. This caught the gunman by surprise and he fled into the narrow alleys of Mombasa Old Town. He suffered gunshot wounds to his chest and legs.

He was rushed to Mombasa hospital which is less than 400M away, where he was stabilized. He has now been flown to South Africa for specialized treatment.

This shooting comes barely 3 weeks after another one where a woman and a man were injured by unknown people. A senior CID officer was also shot and killed in the same area less than 2 months ago.

Residents are now a worried lot as it seems as if the police force is powerless to stop the shooters with little being done to apprehend the gangsters. Speculation is life that Khalid, a businessman in the County was a target due to business rivalry. Awadh, an old town resident said,

“May Allah help our society, there are too many guns in the wrong hands in Mombasa and it seems as if these gunmen cannot be apprehended.”

According to a small Arms Survey, Kenya has up to 600,000 illegal firearms in the hands of civilians. That is one illegal firearm for every 70 people. Mombasa is a major entry point for these illegal arms which have found a way through the port due to many loopholes and corruption. The report also states that the coast line has been used to land weapons using light boats to remote sites and smugglers houses.

Speaking last year after an attack on a church, Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa issued a one week ultimatum to those holding illegal arms to surrender.

“All criminals in this county who are harboring illegal weapons should surrender them within one week. If you are found to be having illegal guns while terrorizing Kenyans, you will be dealt with accordingly.”

Almost a year down the line, residents are already a worried following this shooting.

The National Action Plan (NAP), which attempts to address the issue of small arms in Kenya recommended among other measures, building the capacity of law enforcement agencies, developing socio-economic alternatives to illegal firearm use and promoting public awareness of the dangers of firearms and the need for peaceful conflict resolution.