GLOBAL ECONOMY

Kenya burns 5,250 guns to discourage illegal weapons

  • A pile of 5,250 illegal weapons are burned by Kenyan police in Ngong, near Nairobi, in Kenya Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. The weapons consisted of both confiscated and surrendered firearms that had been stockpiled over almost a decade and were destroyed by police as a message to the public to surrender others. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

    A pile of 5,250 illegal weapons are burned by Kenyan police in Ngong, near Nairobi, in Kenya Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. The weapons consisted of both confiscated and surrendered firearms that had been stockpiled over almost a decade and were destroyed by police as a message to the public to surrender others. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)  (The Associated Press)

  • A photographer takes pictures of a pile of 5,250 illegal weapons as they are burned by Kenyan police in Ngong, near Nairobi, in Kenya Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. The weapons consisted of both confiscated and surrendered firearms that had been stockpiled over almost a decade and were destroyed by police as a message to the public to surrender others. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

    A photographer takes pictures of a pile of 5,250 illegal weapons as they are burned by Kenyan police in Ngong, near Nairobi, in Kenya Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. The weapons consisted of both confiscated and surrendered firearms that had been stockpiled over almost a decade and were destroyed by police as a message to the public to surrender others. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)  (The Associated Press)

  • A pile of 5,250 illegal weapons are burned by Kenyan police in Ngong, near Nairobi, in Kenya Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. The weapons consisted of both confiscated and surrendered firearms that had been stockpiled over almost a decade and were destroyed by police as a message to the public to surrender others. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

    A pile of 5,250 illegal weapons are burned by Kenyan police in Ngong, near Nairobi, in Kenya Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. The weapons consisted of both confiscated and surrendered firearms that had been stockpiled over almost a decade and were destroyed by police as a message to the public to surrender others. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)  (The Associated Press)

Kenya's deputy president attended the burning of more than 5,250 firearms seized by authorities to discourage circulation of illegal weapons in a country battling extremist violence.

Deputy President William Ruto presided over the blaze of rifles and pistols in three stacks about 15 feet high. Ruto said they were recovered in the country over the past nine years.

Kenya has stringent gun laws and obtaining a license is difficult. Applicants must go through several interviews and background checks. Despite the precautions, hundreds of illegal guns are smuggled into Kenya through porous borders, especially from Somalia, Kenya's war-torn neighbor to the north.

Authorities estimate that at least 500,000 guns are illegally held by civilians. The guns are used in cattle raids, extremist attacks and robberies.