Kenya closes security posts ‘too close’ to Somalia border

Kenya has silently closed down several security posts along its volatile border with Somalia.

This follows the recent deadly attacks on government security agents by gunmen believed to be members of the Somali Islamist group, Al-Shabaab.

According to Chris Muthee, the senior County Administration Police commandant, the dismantled security bases are those which are too close to the incursion-prone Somalia border and which were considered underserved.

However, Mr Muthee said the government has instead increased its intelligence gathering and mobile security patrols along its border with Somalia, which has forestalled numerous attempts by criminals.

In an interview in his office in Garissa town, the county commandant says the move was a temporary measure to safeguard the lives of the security officers who have been targeted at the affected stations.

“It is true we have dismantled some of the administration posts in some areas that are too close to our neighbouring country, Somalia, but the move is a stop-gap security measure which will be reversed immediately we secure enough officers to redeploy,” the County commandant said.

Mr Muthee said some posts had less than five officers and sometimes operated by a single or two officers when a colleague is sick or off duty.

“That is exposing our officers to danger and we felt it was better to have them closed for a while as we wait for redeployment of more officers soon,” he added.

Muthee said: “Criminals gangs from outside the country have been targeting our weaker areas and killing our officers, while at the same time endangering the lives of the local people living adjacent to the security camps.

“As government we can’t just sit and watch the situation recurring and this is the best option at the moment to save lives of our officers and that of the civilians,” he added.

He said about six officers were killed, 10 firearms and two communication equipment stolen during the twin incursions at Damajaley and Abdisugow Administration Police post raids, and that of Galmagala camp.

He, however, said the Galmagala Administration Police post was not closed but instead extra officers, including some from the paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU), were deployed in the area following the attack.-nation

PHOTO | FILE Military personnel patrol the streets of Garissa town in April.

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