Government committed to ending terrorism, says Kindiki as Shabaab kill two officers

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki on June 2, 2023. He announced a Sh20 billion budget for security agencies in the North Eastern Region.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo | Nation Media Group

The government is committed to ending terrorism in the North Eastern region bordering war-torn Somalia, says Cabinet Secretary for Interior Kithure Kindiki.

Prof Kindiki said measures had been put in place to secure the volatile region following frequent terrorist attacks.

The CS announced in Garissa on Friday that the government has a Sh20 billion budget to deal with the al-Shabaab terrorist group based in Somalia.

Security agencies in the Kenya-Somalia border region will now have advanced equipment to fight terrorism, he said.

"We have had a security challenge caused by al-Shabaab from our neighbouring country. This terrorist group has caused a lot of damage to the extent that we have lost security officers and government officials. We are ready to deal with the situation," he said.

The CS said the militants were crossing into Kenya in the hope of finding a place to hide.

In August last year, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared "total war" on the al-Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabaab after it staged a deadly hotel siege in Mogadishu.

President Mohamud's announcement prompted Somali citizens to come out in large numbers to oust al-Shabaab militants from residential areas across Somalia.

"I am declaring here today that we will deal with this enemy by all available means and ensure that we have dealt with this menace once and for all," he said.

Prof Kindiki added: "We are procuring new equipment for our security agencies so that they can effectively respond to terror threats in this region.

The budget, according to the CS, will be used to buy armoured vehicles and security aircraft.

The CS put the militants on notice, warning that their days are numbered.

He said the government was declaring war on the militants because it wanted to concentrate on internal affairs.

"The days of terrorists harassing us, killing government officials, those days are over. We want to focus on our internal problems because we have a number of internal problems that require security,” he said.

Prof Kindiki cited the clan clashes on the Garissa-Isiolo border as one of the challenges that needed the government's attention.

To end the clashes between the two counties, Prof Kindiki called for a meeting between the political leaders of the two counties in Nairobi as he plans to visit the region in the next two weeks.

On Sunday, an elderly couple was shot dead by gunmen in Kambi Samaki on the Garissa-Isiolo border.

The couple, identified by security officials as Mohamed Noor and Kuresha Salan Noor, were ambushed on Sunday evening by armed bandits who shot them at close range.

Meanwhile, on Friday, at least two police officers were killed and five others injured in a suspected al-Shabaab attack in Mandera County.

The incident occurred on the Elele-Takaba road in Mandera South sub-county at 10am.

Security sources said a contingent of security officers from the Elele-based Quick Response Unit (QRU) were attacked while on patrol.

The attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at the officers’ vehicle killing the two officers and injuring five others.

Confirming the incident, Mandera County Commissioner Amos Mariba said combined security forces were combing the area in search of the attackers.

"The incident happened around 10am and targeted our officers who were on a security patrol in the area. It is unfortunate that we lost two officers but our response teams are on the ground," Mr Mariba said by phone.

The Mandera County Security Committee boss said the affected team had been patrolling the area following intelligence reports of the militants being sighted.

"We are challenged by the topography of the area and the enemy has taken advantage of the improved vegetation to hide," he said.

According to Mr Mariba, sightings of al-Shabaab militants in Mandera have increased following the recent rains.

"We are getting reports of the enemy being sighted but our response teams are on the ground tracking them. We are on the verge of catching up with them," he said.

Both the dead and the injured have since been airlifted to Nairobi, Mr Mariba said.

Last week, a police reservist was shot dead by suspected al-Shabaab militants in Mandera's Guticha area.

The attackers reportedly accused the officer of working for the government and reporting their movements in the area.

In Garissa on Friday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki vowed to fight the terror group and announced a Sh20 billion budget for security agencies.

"The government has Sh20 billion to ensure that our security officers are properly equipped to fight the terrorists. The government is determined to end this war and focus on other internal matters," said Prof Kindiki.