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Kenya scales up fight against Al Shabaab militants

Security agencies based in the North Eastern region will be supplied with well-equipped machinery to boost the fight against the rag-tag Al Shabaab militia, Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Kithure Kindiki said on Thursday.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki (R) greets deputy county commissioners and chiefs in Kirinyaga County, Kenya during a past meeting. PHOTO | NMG

Prof Kindiki said the State has procured enough mobility equipment to be used by security officers in the terror-prone areas.  

He said security officers serving in Wajir, Garissa, Mandera and other areas that face the Al Shabaab threat will be given priority when distributing the equipment.

“Next week, we are distributing equipment that includes Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAPs) to our security officers,” the CS said while in Wajir town where he held a strategy security briefing with regional security managers.

He said the national government is committed to ensuring that the North Eastern, Upper Eastern and Upper Coastal Regions are safe and secure for development and investment.

He said more Kenya Police Reservists will be recruited to supplement the efforts of the multi-agency security officers in the region.

“Next month, the National Police Reservists will be recruited and trained to supplement the efforts of multi-agency security officers deployed in Wajir to combat financiers, planners and orchestrators of terror attacks,” he said.

The government had pledged to invest Ksh20 billion ($138 million) for the modernisation of police equipment in the fight against terror and banditry.

The announcement was made in May last year by CS Kindiki while on a security tour in Samburu.

Recently, the government announced another budget of Ksh37 billion ($255.2 million) in a bid to upgrade security equipment.

The government has since spent Ksh7 billion ($48.3 million) on the equipment to be distributed next week.

According to the CS, the first batch includes personal protective gear which will be handed to the police officers in the country.

In the next two months, the government will also receive drones and other modern surveillance equipment while the third batch which includes weapons, helicopters, and other aerial mobility will arrive in the country later.

The new equipment comes amid consistent assurances by the government aimed at protecting police officers by ensuring they are well-equipped.

This is not the first time the security agencies are getting sophisticated weapons to fight terrorism.

In 2020, security agencies received Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC), which were distributed in terror and banditry-prone areas across the country.

Majority of the equipment procured then have since stalled due to mechanical breakdown and others were damaged by militants in the attacks.

Some APCs have even been blown up in Mandera, Lamu and Garissa counties by explosives planted by militants on the roads.

While in Wajir, the CS warned all involved in contraband trade, trafficking in narcotics, human trafficking, banditry and cattle rustling that the government would ruthlessly engage them.

The government will also focus on upgrading security infrastructure and reorganising security personnel in the Northern Counties to improve public safety and security in the region. CS Kindiki noted that the region has more than enough critical economic essentials for Kenya’s transformation.

“The region’s full contribution to our country’s GDP hinges on the creation of a safe and secure environment for local and external investment.” Prof Kindiki said.

The CS said that sub-counties in the region and other parts of the country that were gazetted as troubled will be operationalised within this financial year, to ease access to government services.

He underscored the need for the establishment of additional security facilities, constant review of existing operational capabilities and generation of durable solutions to the complex security threats that he said required regular reviews and locally processed measures.

Kindiki said the government will continuously review covert and overt interventions to sustain the war on terror and other threats to national security.

Source: The East African

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