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Government beefs up security along border

The government has stepped security, especially along the Kenya – Somali border, ahead of next month’s general election.

Briefing the press after a long day regional security and intelligence meeting in his office Thursday, North Eastern Regional Commissioner James Kianda said that necessary deployments of security personnel was complete and the government was determined in safeguarding the area during the campaigns, the voting exercise and after the polls.

Kianda said the regional security team has been able to properly plan and deploy enough security personnel following infiltration of Al-Shabaab militants in the past.

The regional commissioner said that security personnel have done adequate preparation, adding that a number of camps have their security boosted so as to forestall any interference from any enemy out there.

“I can confirm that the border, which has been an area of worry to most of our residents in the region is well secured. We planned and deployed enough personnel and that the border is well secured in terms of ensuring that we have no infiltration of enemies that can disrupt peace and more specifically during the elections period,” Kianda said.

“We have looked at our general security and what I can confirm to the public is that at the moment our region is very secure and our officers are manning all areas that are supposed to be managed quite well and we actually don’t have any threats that may interfere with peace within the region,” he added.

Kianda said the regional security committee has already classified hotspots areas within the region and where violence is likely to occur and adequate preparation has been put in place to forestall any would-be violence.

The regional commissioner further commended candidates seeking various seats as well as their supporters for conducting their campaigns peacefully and with a lot of decorum.

“So far there is calm and restrain in how candidates seeking for various seats are conducting their campaigns by adhering to the processes that are required especially by our security establishments. Equally there has not been any provocation between various groups that are competing within the region and I would appeal that we continue like that,” Kianda said.

He noted that peace committees are working closely with village elders, the youth and women all geared towards safeguarding peace in their respective areas before, during and after the elections.

He said that all routes within the region, where people will be moving to go and cast their votes will be well manned.

“We are more than ever determined to make sure that the general election is held in an atmosphere that is peaceful, void of any threats and any person who is out to vote is able to do so with ease. But for us to make it a reality we will need maximum cooperation from everybody,” he urged.

Kianda’s sentiments come a day after Interior CS Dr. Fred Matiang’i directed that more police officers be deployed to the coastal region to heighten security surveillance ahead of the general election.

Matiang’i who was speaking Wednesday during the opening ceremony for the Sh81 million first Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) regional headquarters, said intelligence reports had flagged out politically-linked mobilization of gangs and other illegal groupings that could pose a security threat in at least two counties in the region.

“I have asked the regional security teams to raise the level of security alertness to ensure that we facilitate effective participation in the general election. We are bringing up special additional resources to back up their work and planning,” Matiang’i said.

He said the government is determined to ensure that peace prevails in a region that has a history of election-related unrest and that it will crack down on illegal gangs and politicians sponsoring them.

By Jacob Songok

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