, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – The government has formed a team of senior security officers who have been mandated to review the security situation at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) facilities.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery says though there is no imminent security threat, the institutions deal with chemicals which can be used to cause harm if mishandled.
Though he declined to reveal whether they were acting on intelligence, the CS said the team is meant to address “security concerns at the institution’s 90 branches.”
“We have met the institution’s leadership accompanied by Nairobi security team led by the County Police Commander (Japheth Koome) on the security situation of KEMRI,” he told journalists after a meeting with KEMRI officials.
He was accompanied by Health Ministry CS Cleopa Mailu.
The move comes as the country continues enhancing its security measures specifically due to terror threats posed by the Somalia based terror group Al- Shabaab.
“The institution is fully secured but we wanted to review the situation so that if there are gaps, we can seal them,” he said while dispelling fears that the institution could be targeted by terrorist. It is a normal government decision.”
As terror continue becoming sophisticated, the Kenyan Government want to secure all key installations by sealing all possible loopholes terrorist can use to launch an attack.
“Institutions with radioactive materials must be secured, the same must happen to laboratories because of the bacteria viruses, toxins, reagents which people handle. They can be misused if they fall in the wrongs hands,” Mailu cautioned.
“We are dealing with viruses and if they get out of the containment area, you know they can infect people. They must be within the protected area to make sure nothing is left to chance.”
Some of the stringent security measures set to be put in place include installation of CCTV cameras.
The security team in a week’s time will provide a detailed report on what security areas need to be addressed as well as identifying any loopholes.
The government is set to priorities enhancing security of the Kilifi, Kisumu and Busia branches according to CS Mailu.
KEMRI is State institution mandated to carry out research in human health and also to cooperate with other research organisations and institutions of higher learning on matters of relevant research and training.