Kenya heightens Somali border patrols

June 25, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25 – Kenya has deployed more security forces to its border with Somalia following increased threats from the Al Shabaab militia that has destabilised the fragile Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu.

Police and military sources said fresh deployments were sent on Thursday morning “and more are expected at the end of this week.”

“The army and police officers have been sent from Nairobi and other areas. Contingents of police officers and army troops have been arriving there since morning,” a police source in the North Eastern Province said.

“Some left Nairobi this morning and there are those leaving tomorrow,” the source said without giving the exact number.

Government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua said security forces are on high alert, particularly at the border points.

“The Kenyan government is concerned about the ongoing situation in Somalia, and we are closely monitoring the unfolding events there,” he said and added: “The (Kenya) government has recommended that the situation be dealt by the international community and repeated Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s position that “no troops will be deployed there from Kenya.”

He said the Kenyan government was obligated to take care of its citizens and that is why “border security is being enhanced.”

“We are taking appropriate measures to protect the interests of our country and to ensure that our border with Somalia is safe and that our citizens and the refugees near the border are given the necessary comfort,” he said during the weekly briefing at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).

He said the Kenyan government was only offering logistics support to the international community which intervenes directly in resolving the crisis in Somalia.

“The Kenya government views that the best way of dealing with the situation in Somalia is if it is handled under the auspices of IGAD, the AU and the United Nations. We will only offer logistical support,” he added.

Citing the international principles of peace-keeping missions, Dr Mutua said: “Immediate neighbours to countries that are facing conflicts are not usually involved or do not provide peacekeeping forces but we are able to provide other logistical support.”

In line with this, he said “we would like to make it very clear that the Kenya government will not be sending troops to Somalia but views the situation in Somalia as serious and that requires intervention by the whole of the international community.” 

On Wednesday, President Mwai Kibaki chaired the National Security Council meeting at his Harambee House office where he reportedly ordered security chiefs to enhance security at the Kenya-Somali border.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Ministers Yusuf Hajji (Defense), Prof George Saitoti (Internal Security), Chief of General Staff Jeremiah Kianga and Police chief Maj General Mohammed Hussein Ali.

National Security Intelligence Service boss Brig Michael Gichangi who is a member of the council also attended the meeting.

There was no official statement released to elaborate on issues discussed at the meeting.


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