Police reservists in northern Kenya to join fight against Shabaab: CS Kindiki

Kithure Kindiki

Interior CS Kithure KIndiki in Mandera on February 2, 2023. He announced a government plan to involve locals in the fight against terrorism in the region.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo I Nation Media Group

The national government plans to involve police reservists in terror-prone areas of northern Kenya in fighting terrorism.

This was announced by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki Thursday while on a security tour in Mandera County.

Prof Kindiki said Kenya will adopt a similar approach as Somalia where civilians are enjoined in the fight against al-Shabaab militants who have continued to cause havoc in the North Eastern, Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties.

The dissidents have also killed, maimed locals and security personnel and destroyed property in Lamu County.

“I am directing the county security team to sit down with the political leaders of this county, all government agencies working here to put together a plan which will be guided by community leaders and clan elders to make sure we initiate an operation to flush out armed militants from Mandera and North Eastern. This has been done in Somalia and we can also do it here at home,” Prof Kindiki said.

According to the CS, the war against terrorism will only be won if the local community takes the leading role in the fight.

“The government will give the necessary support to ensure the operation is successful but you have to take the leading role because you understand the surrounding and you know each other better,” the CS said in a security consultative meeting with clan elders.

Unlike in Somalia, where civilians are armed by the government, Prof Kindiki said the national government will hire more police reservists to work alongside the community leaders in fighting militants.

He reiterated that the national government was keen on securing all corners of the country by dealing with elements causing insecurity.

“The government is keen on ensuring security of the common mwananchi everywhere and anywhere. This ministry has been ordered by the President to ensure every corner of Kenya is safe, from Lamu to Mandera, Lokichogio to Lungalunga and from Namanga to Moyale. There will be enough security because we have to build our country,” he said.

Prof Kindiki said the country will not prosper until every citizen is safe and secure.

Kithure Kindiki

Mr Jacob Narengo, secretary in the Ministry of Interior, CS Prof Kithure Kindiki and Mr Noor Gabow in Mandera on February 2, 2023. Prof Kindiki announced a plan to have the local community integrated in the fight against terrorism.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo I Nation Media Group

He said all means will be used in restoring security across the country.

The ongoing onslaught on al-Shabaab terror group in Somalia has forced the militants to run into parts of Kenya and establish hideouts in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Lamu counties.

Tired with persistent attacks and raids, thousands of civilians in Somalia have chosen to take up arms and directly confront the al-Shabaab militants, in what has significantly changed the dynamics and probably resuscitated the fight against the group.

“It is … unbelievable that Somalia can deal with terrorism from their midst and yet Kenya cannot do that. We have to copy that and deal with the same in our own way,” he said as he appealed for collaboration of all agencies, and political and religious leaders in fighting terrorism.

Security installations near the Somalia border have continued to record attacks carried out by al-Shabaab militants.

Arabia Police Post for instance, has been attacked three times in a month while Fino and Lafey have recorded at least two attempted attacks.

Prof Kindiki indicated that the national government was committed to finding a lasting solution for Mandera.

“The enemy is known and living within the community. We need to come together and agree on ending this trend. The national government will fully support any plan that brings security and we shall do everything to fund the same,” he said.

While in Mandera, the CS announced plans to reopen the Mandera Border Control post that has remained closed since 2007.

“I understand our border with Somalia has remained closed for over 10 years but we have agreed with Somalia to have a proper border point so that we can have controlled business activities,” he said.

“We need to have the border post reopened but lower the taxes on imported goods so that we can be able to sustain our businesses,” Mr Osman Rakiso, a clan elder, said.

The Mandera Border Post will take a longer period before it is reopened after the CS announced that construction of offices has to be done again.

“I have directed the county security team to sit down and bring forward whatever is needed in reopening the border post within one week so that construction works can begin as soon as possible,” he said.


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