The Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS), Dr. Fred Matiang’i has instructed security agents in North Eastern to deal ruthlessly with smuggling of contraband goods.
Dr. Matiang’i said that contraband trafficking was not only hurting businesses in Kenya, but also offered a direct revenue to Somali based Al-Shabaab terror group.
Speaking to the press in Garissa town on Monday, after meeting with regional and county security committees from Wajir, Mandera and Garissa counties, together with chiefs from the region, the CS said a multi-agency security team will soon embark on unprecedented crackdown on the illicit trade.
“We are going to start a massive crackdown on contraband trade that is thriving in this part of the country because it was a direct revenue to the Al-Shabaab,” Dr. Matiang’i said.
“Those engaging in it are Al-Shabaab foremost supporters and funders,” he said, adding that, “We have told local security teams that we will come down hard on that. We will not pretend on this.”
At the same time, he reiterated government resolve to end terrorism in the region that has borne the brunt of the sporadic attacks.
“Let us not lie that there was no ongoing trade because the border is closed. Whatever is going on is actually fueling deaths of Kenyans,” Matiang’i said.
“So those who are engaging in this illegal business are foremost financers of the Al-Shabaab, not any different from terrorists themselves and we will deal with them as such,” reiterated Dr. Matiang’i.
The CS, who was accompanied by the Inspector General of Police, Hilary Mutyambai said going forward, the president had instructed him together with his team at the national level to be holding quarterly meetings in the region to review progress. The next meeting will be held in Wajir.
He pledged his personal support and additional resources to ensure that all recommendations made by the governors in their recent meeting and those of Monday’s meetings are fully implemented.
The CS, who held a closed meeting with the regional and county security committees later met governors, Ali Korane (Garissa) and Ali Roba (Mandera) who handed him a memorandum following recent leaders meetings in their respective counties.
Dr. Matiangi’s tour follows renewed terror attacks in the region, the recent being the killing of 4 pupils of Saretho boarding primary school on January 7 and 3 non-local teachers in Kamuthe education centre a week later. Both incidents took place in Garissa County.
The killing forced the county education board to withdraw all non-local teachers from Fafi, Hulugho, Dadaab and parts of Ijara sub-counties.
By Jacob Songok