Mandera Governor Ali Roba has broken his silence on the recent wave of terror attacks in the county and accused the national government of unfairly linking clan militias to the insecurity in the region.
Mr Roba, who has been vocal on issues of insecurity posed by Al-Shabaab militants, has been silent since February after the national government disputed his allegation that Mandera was under the control of the terrorists.
He had gone public, claiming that the Shabaab were controlling 60 per cent of Mandera’s land mass, a narrative that the national government vehemently rejected.
On Friday, during a security meeting attended by EAC Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed and North Eastern Regional Commissioner Nicodemus Ndalana among other leaders, Mr Roba asked the government to stop associating the recent attacks to clans.
“The issue of associating the current insecurity as a result of Al-Shabaab with clan militia is a very dangerous issue. The risk of pitting communities against each other is far worse than the issue of dealing with Al-Shabaab,” he said.
“We know that within our local communities there has been active recruitment by Al-Shabaab for the last 11 years and our own children have been affected. These youths are from all the clans and we acknowledge that but as soon as they cross the line and go on the other side and join Al-Shabaab, they become automatic enemies,” the governor added.
Mr Roba seemed to disagree with the national government’s position just a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta warned politicians against fuelling clan feuds and blaming them on the terrorist group.
On June 9 in Kajiado, President Kenyatta warned unnamed leaders from the northeastern region against using the name of the Somalia-based terror group to cause mayhem in the region.
He said the government was aware of some leaders using the Shabaab tag to trigger inter-clan attacks.
“Don’t use the name of Al-Shabaab to cause inter-clan attacks. We are aware, and I urge you to stop it before we take decisive action,” the President said when he presided over the destruction of more than 5,000 illegal guns in Ngong town.
His remarks suggested that some of the fatal attacks seen in parts of the northeastern and coastal regions could have been staged by locals who have a hidden agenda.
Mandera County has recorded more than 10 terror incidents in the past two months, which have left a dozen people dead and others injured.
On May 21, an explosive hit a police vehicle at Darklae, killing three officers and injuring three others. A day later, suspected Al-Shabaab militants raided Hareri Hosle village and killed a police reservist and stole his firearm.
On June 7, a convoy of two buses and a police vehicle was ambushed and sprayed with bullets, leaving at least five people dead, including three police officers and two civilians. At least 15 people were injured in the attack.
Two other people were killed on June 10 when a Kenya Wildlife Services vehicle was hit by an explosive in Qoqayi, Mandera West.
Al-Shabaab insurgents have been carrying out attacks in Mandera after breaching security zones, leaving dozens of civilians and security officials dead or wounded.
Governor Roba proposed better training for National Police Reservists as a way to improve security in Mandera.