Tuesday, February 25, 2020
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Kenya border wall construction on course

The  Kenya/ Somalia border securitization  wall, (Front line in cap) the Defence Principal Secretary, Saitoti  Torome, Photo by KNA.

The  Parliamentary committee on Defence and Foreign Relations has expressed satisfaction over the pace of construction of the Kenya/Somalia border security wall.

The committee which toured Mandera on Thursday to check on the progress of the border security wall commended the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) for spearheading the construction of the wall.

Katoo Ole Mitito, the committee’s Chairman and the Kajiado South MP said they were also in a public engagement forum to collect views from residents on whether or not to withdraw Kenyan forces pursuing the Al Shabaab in Somalia.

The  Mandera East MP, Omar Sala had petitioned Parliament that residents wanted KDF withdrawn from Somalia due to rampant attacks by Al Shabaab who have been asking Kenya in their websites to withdraw the force from Somalia.

The committee also sought views from residents on the compensation for victims who die from terror attacks in the area.

Suleiman Adan just like other participants in the forum asked the committee to recommend for repatriation of KDF from Somalia.

The participants said KDF should be withdrawn from Somalia as residents continued being attacked by Al Shabaab inside Kenya.

They instead asked the forces to be returned to Kenya to guard the border with Somalia.

All participants who spoke expressed satisfaction on the progress of the on-going work of the border security wall.

Suleiman said security has highly improved since the construction of the wall commenced.

“There have been no attacks for the past one year unlike in the past where Al Shabaab used to attack ten times in a week, ” said Suleiman, whose sentiments also echoed by area deputy governor, Mohamed  Arai.

The  Principal Secretary for Defence, Saitoti  Torome said the delegation will take the residents’ concerns to the executive for consideration by cabinet.

Mr.Saitoti said the government will implement what is viable in the contributions and leave out what it cannot.

He said Kenya is part of AMISOM forces in Somalia and that its proximity to Somalia was leaving the country vulnerable to Al Shabaab attacks more than the other members comprising the over 20,000 African troops pursuing the militants in Somalia.

On their part, KDF engineers said 12 kilometers of the wall has been built for the past one year and expressed confidence the work will be fast-tracked.

They said 12 kilometers of the barbed wire wall fitted with heavy wire mesh in between them and concrete poles running parallel to each other with a three meter trench dug on the Kenyan side plus a patrol road has been built.

Some two kilometers of the wall has not been built near Bula Hawa in Somalia due to encroachment into the no man’s land by Somalia nationals.

Area County Commissioner, Kutswa Olaka said the ministries of foreign affairs in Kenya and Somalia were in consultation to decide on the fate of illegal structures built along the common border.

Others who attended the forum included Mavoko MP, Patrick Makau, Tharaka Nithi women representative, Nkatha Nyaga, Nelson Koech-Belgut MP, Dido Raso- MP Sako and Major  Aden Bashir- Mandera North.

By  Dickson  Githaiga

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