Interior Minister Kindiki says plan still in place, but militants must be dealt with first
Kenya postponed its plan to gradually reopen its border with Somalia on Wednesday, citing a recent surge in terror attacks along its porous border by al-Shabaab terrorists.
Police officers patrolling the border were killed in several attacks last month, Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki said at a press conference at the Dadaab refugee camp, about 460 kilometers (285 miles) north of Nairobi.
“Kenya and Somalia have planned to reopen our border points in Mandera, here in Liboi, Kiunga, and other border areas. The plan will continue, but we are delaying it at the moment,” he said.
The Interior Ministry released and shared a video of his press conference with journalists, during which he said, “In the past month, we have noted and experienced disruption of peace and security, and we have stopped that plan for a period to allow us to deal with the militants.”
In June alone, at least 20 people were killed in attacks claimed by al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shahbab terrorists in the counties of Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, and Lamu, all of which border Somalia.
The majority of those killed in these attacks were security officers tasked with keeping the region safe and secure.
Kenya initially planned to gradually reopen its border with Somalia in an announcement made on May 15, aiming to restore normalcy and strengthen ties between the two neighboring countries.
However, the recent escalation of violence has forced the government to reconsider its decision and prioritize the security of its citizens.
Kenya, as a neighboring country, has been particularly vulnerable to the group’s activities.
Their actions resulted in massive casualties and posed a serious threat to East African regional stability.
Al-Shabaab militants have carried out numerous attacks in Kenya after crossing the porous Kenya-Somalia border.
Their attack on Garissa University College in 2015 remains one of their most notorious acts on Kenyan soil, claiming the lives of over 130 students.
Al-Shabaab, in response to Kenya’s deployment of troops to Somalia following a wave of kidnappings in 2011, launched a series of attacks against Kenya and has since continued to threaten further violence if the troops are not withdrawn.