NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – Mandera Governor Ali Roba now says his life is in danger following separate weekend attacks that left seven people dead.
Roba said this was the sixth attempt on his life, and he questioned the national government’s seriousness to safeguard his life.
“I am the head of the county government, my life is under threat and it has always been,” he said.
The Governor of the county that has suffered several attacks attributed to the Somalia’ based militia Al Shabaab seemed to be reading from the same script as six MPs from his county who had earlier in the day sounded caution that that residents will take matters into their own hands if the national government fails to curb the attacks.
“There is clear need for structures to be put in place for us to synergize our efforts to be able to use all available resources within our environment to make sure we get the results we need,” he said while addressing his first news conference after Friday attack.
“It’s a system failure rather than an individual failure we can no longer stand before the public and assure them that the security is being beefed up,” he said.
One of the attacks occurred on Friday when his convoy was ambushed and two police officers killed, while the second occurred Sunday night when four people were shot dead in Mandera town.
READ: 3 killed, vehicles burnt in attack on Governor Roba’s convoy
He has told journalists that there is urgent need for the removal of area County Commissioner whom he accuses of being clueless about security management.
Four people were killed and three others seriously injured during an attack at Bula Mpya area on Sunday night, fuelling security concerns in the area.
The MPs led by Mandera West MP Mohammud Mohammed and Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow called for an overhaul of the security chiefs in the area accusing them of collaborating with the Al Shabaab.
“The leadership under County Commissioner is a very serious matter, we think they should leave and a new one so that they deal with the problem. The bus incident, the quarry incident nothing has happened, our suspicion is he could be collaborating with the Al-Shabaab. So I think the government must take action so that our people are protected,” Mohammed stated.
Roba said Monday the situation in Mandera County is “extremely hopeless” and “residents will do what they have to do” if the national government does not stop the attacks.
“After we lost 64 Kenyans, a security command centre was established in the county but was shut down within a month for no apparent reason. This is unacceptable. The government has a responsibility to protect the whole country, and there is no need for it to keep soldiers to protect Somalis instead of protecting Kenyans,” Governor Roba said.
He calls for overhaul in security patrols to cover both off-road and on road areas.
“The word is out, these people are now moving in groups of 15, the pastoralists have told us. We need a radical redesign of how we are managing the securities required. We need infantry, we need people who can fight them in the bushes,” said the Mandera Governor.
At the same time, the six MPs from Mandera County have called on the government to take over the manning of the Kenya-Somalia border from the Ethiopian army for the attacks to end.
The MPs led by Mandera West MP Mohammud Mohammed and Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow said Kenya should review the AMISOM arrangement which has allowed Al Shabaab space to take control of the region near Damassa.
READ: KDF should secure Kenya, Somalia border – Duale
New Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet who visited the area on Saturday and promised that adequate security will be restored there, was on the receiving end of the MPs anger after they accused him of trivializing the matter.
Boinnet who was speaking after meeting area security chiefs is quoted as describing the attack on the Governor’s convoy as the work of bandits.
“His first opportunity after being sworn in was Mandera, a full Inspector General voted in by this House goes to Mandera where the governor has been attacked by bazookas and the first thing he says is – I – think it is a banditry attack. Banditry is not a crime? He cannot arrest them?”
“He needs to appreciate that the failure to address the situation in Mandera and other parts of the country that led to the removal of the former IG,” Senator Kerrow said.