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Building of wall along Somalia border to deter terrorism set to start

Police manning the border in Mandera town. A
Police manning the border in Mandera town. A senior official has said the construction of a wall along the Kenya-Somalia border is expected to start Wednesday. PHOTO | FILE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mandera County Commissioner Alex Ole Nkoyo has said the construction of a wall along the Kenya-Somalia border to curtail terrorists' movement is expected to start Wednesday.

Speaking to the Nation, Mr Nkoyo said the construction was part of the government’s strategy to monitor movement and contain attacks by Al-Shabaab militants from Somalia.

“The government is building the wall mainly as a security precautionary measure being put in place to ward off further encroachment on our territorial land by terrorists from Somalia. This is because Bula Hawa town in Somalia has been used as an exit and entry point by the terrorists to get in and out of Mandera,” he said.

Cabinet secretary Joseph Nkaissery had also told journalists construction begins this week with about 200km of barriers expected along the 700km border.

The County Commissioner said there was “serious” encroachment on Kenya’s territory near the border.

“On the Somalia side, people have even built on the no man’s land which is not supposed to be interfered with by either countries. This has caused a lot of security challenges here as it makes it easy for criminals to carry out their acts and run through the porous border to Bula Hawa to hide,” he explained.

“Walling is basically putting a barrier along the borderline so that demarcation of the national boundary is very clear,” said Mr Nkoyo.

He, however, did not disclose how much the government will spend on the project.

“We are waiting for the designers to arrive before we know how much it will cost and its height,” he added.

Mr Nkoyo said criminals have been committing crimes in Mandera town and escape to Bula Hawa.

Mandera (a border town in Kenya’s northeast) and Bula Hawa (an adjoining town in Somalia) are barely two kilometres apart.

He said the project will be done in phases. The first 20 kilometres will be done starting at the border point.

“The government’s mission is to establish clear designated entry and exit points along the border and the Cabinet Secretary for Interior made it clear that we start with the most porous areas. Screening shall be thoroughly done at the checkpoints” said Mr Nkoyo.

While addressing a public rally on Monday, Mandera Senator Billow welcomed the idea and appealed to the locals to cooperate with the government in securing the county.

“We welcome the idea of building a wall between these two towns because it will control militants,” said Mr Kerrow.

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