Kenya ignores shabaab info, says Somali commander

BEACON: SNA commander for Gedo region, Yassin Bare Hassan.Photo/Adow Mohamed

KENYA is ignoring intelligence information about al Shabaab, a senior Somali National Army commander has said.

Yassin Bare Hassan, the SNA Commander in the Gedo region immediately next to Kenya, sensationally claimed some senior Kenyan security officials turn a blind eye to al Shabaab.

Speaking to the Star near Bulla Hawa town, near Mandera, along the Kenya-Somalia border, Hassan said attempts by his forces to collaborate with Kenya have repeatedly failed.

“Kenya is not serious in the fight against al Shabaab,” claimed a visibly angry Hassan.

“Some weeks ago, we gave names of individuals we knew to have links with terror networks in Somalia and who were in Mandera county. They were 14, including two whites. But Kenyan officials did not do anything about it,” he said.

Asked why the Somali forces did not deal with them, he said the suspects enter and leave through routes manned by Kenyan forces.

“The security forces know those routes. They cannot deny it. The individuals and their collaborators know that we know them. They avoid us,” he claimed.

He said the KDF knew the location of the al Shabaab stronghold.

“There is a town called Gadandawe, some tens of kilometres from here [Bulla Hawa]. Kenya knows the town is a safe haven for al Shabaab. They never made an attempt to flush them out,” he alleged.

He said al Shabaab members have “easy access” in and out of Mandera.

He dismissed KDF’s claims that it bombed al Shabaab in the Lower Juba region as “inconsequential”.

“KDF many times just bombed livestock herders and killed hundreds of animals. They actually know where al Shabaab adherents are and their movements,” he said.

The Somali commander claimed that the route of the proposed Kenya security wall lies within Somali territory.

“Kenya has taken advantage of the many years of Somalia’s lawlessness and encroached on our land. More than two kilometres of Somalia is now illegally inhabited by Kenyans,” he said.

The land includes a Kenya police post, Immigration office and Customs department.

Mandera county commissioner Alex ole Nkoyo denied any land grab and said “These claims that are not good for the relationship of the two countries and security forces.”

He acknowledged the existence of local terror networks but said “I am not aware of any government official who colludes with al Shabaab to commit terror.”

“Of course there are locals who are working at the behest of criminals, including al Shabaab. This made the fight against terror very difficult,” he said.

“Terrorism has taken a tribal and political dimension,” he added.

“About the issue of encroaching on Somali lands, there are beacons that were erected during the colonial times. From Border Point One in Mandera all the way to Kiunga in Lamu, they are clearly demarcated. Such sticking points will be dealt with by the relevant authorities, such as surveyors,” he concluded.

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