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Kenya steps up security along border with Somalia

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Kenyan authorities said Wednesday they have managed to restore security along its porous border with Somalia in Mandera by deploying more police officers to enhance security.

Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia said more security patrol teams have been deployed in Elwak and Lafey sub counties following December attacks that claimed five people.

"We have 100 security officers on the ground made up of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), paramilitary police and Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) who have managed to push the Al-Shabaab inside Somalia," Shisia told journalists in Mandera town.

The enhanced security follows the recent killing of three security officers and two passengers last month when a commuter bus they were traveling in was ambushed by the insurgents from Somalia.

Shisia said the multi-security team which was deployed since Jan. 1 has been able to thwart off cross border incursions by the Islamist militants along the common border with Somalia.

He said several suspects have been arrested, with the latest being on two operatives who have been providing food to the Al-Shabaab militia operating in Lafey and Elwak.

The government administrator disclosed that the two are giving crucial leads to KDF and CID intelligence teams which will help in apprehending more culprits.

Kenyan authorities have blamed the militants for being behind spates of kidnapping of expatriates working in the sprawling refugee camps in the incursion-prone northern region and tourists in the coastal archipelago towns of Mombasa and Lamu.

Officials link these attacks to the fact that Mandera (a border town in Kenya's northeast) and Bula Hawa (an adjoining town in Somalia) are barely two kilometres apart thus making it easy for terrorists to cross the border and attack.

Some eight other terror suspects were on Monday convicted by a Mandera court to a five year jail sentence each with an alternative of a 4,000 U.S. dollar bond.

Three of the eight convicted were later handed to the CID team after the government filed an application before Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Areri.

Area security team believes the three have more information that will lead to the arrest of more terror culprits in the ongoing security operation.

"Our operations are intelligence led as we do not want to victimise innocent citizens, we owe the community to aid in information gathering," Shisia said.

Kenya launched cross border incursion in southern Somalia in 2011.

Subsequent efforts to fight terrorism and neutralise Al-Shabaab threats have seen anti-terrorism police unit arrest dozens of other Kenyans on suspicion of being members of the Somali terror group.


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