, MOMBASA, Kenya, Dec 18 – The government said on Friday that the Kenya Somalia border would remain closed following fresh threats issued by militant groups in the lawless country.
Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti said the 600km Kenya-Somalia border would be kept shut to prevent militants from crossing into Kenya under the guise of seeking refuge in the country.
Prof Saitoti directed administrators at the Coast Province to ensure that the border remains closed so that Al-Shabaab and the Hizbul-Islam militants do not cross the border disguised as refugees.
The Minister said besides placing the country\’s security organs on high alert to ensure that the Kenya-Somalia border doesn\’t get infiltrated by these two partisans groups fighting for the control of the horn of Africa country, the provincial administration at the Coast should supplement this by ensuring that the terrorists disguised as refugees do not cross the border.
Prof Saitoti said although Kenya wishes Somali people well: “We will not allow any Kenyan to join the fighting currently obtaining in the horn of Africa country by fighting on the side of any of the partisans.”
The Minister who was speaking at the Coast PC\’s boardroom while addressing 21 District Commissioners from the Province, told administrators manning the districts bordering the war torn country to be hawk-eyed so that jobless Kenyans are not carted away to fight for either the Al-Shabaab or Hizbul-Islam militants.
“The government takes seriously threats by one of the fundamentalist factions prosecuting the civil strife in Somalia following reports that some Kenyans of Somali origin were being recruited to prop up the fledgling Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu and we will go out to ensure that partisans of the two factions fighting for control of the chaotic country do not cross the border disguised as refugees," the Minister said.
"Although no Kenyan has joined this conflict as supporters of any faction, we take great exception to threats of retaliatory attacks by one of the factions and we dare them carry out their threats," the minister declared while asserting that the government was in full control of the situation.
Prof Saitoti also declared as \’hot air\’ claims by one of the factions involved in the Somali conflict that Kenya will “suffer the consequences of extending military support to the transitional government in Mogadishu.”
"Although it is Kenyans’ wish to see peace and tranquillity in Somalia, we will not send our troops there to prop up any of the combatants involved in the civil strife currently obtaining in the chaotic northerly neighbour which has not had a government for over 20 years", the minister asserted.
On the same breath, Prof Saitoti commended the police and the provincial administration for netting dozens of arms and ammunitions in two vessels in Lamu district and the Kilindini port which could have been used by some of the partisans in the Somali conflict to fuel chaos in the country.
He called for extra vigilance to help mitigate against the infiltration of illicit arms by criminal elements pretending to run away from the war torn horn of African country.
The minister called for extra vigilance by the security apparatus and provincial administration to curb drug peddling in coast province as this was visiting untold suffering to parents of the users and the country as a whole.
The minister cited demonstrations against the drug menace in Mombasa and Malindi as a wakeup call to the security apparatus in the coast to roll up their sleeves to fight this social menace.
He announced that the government has already advertised 200 posts for District Officers and assured areas lacking this vital layer of the provincial administration that their divisions will have DOs by January next year while districts and divisions without vehicles will be provided with them as early as February next year.