This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
Kenya, the region’s most advanced and biggest economic power, is still facing major hurdles. One of the issues impeding its development is the shaky security situation on its northeastern border with Somalia. The fractured neighbour acts as a destabilising element in the region, and fighters from Somali terrorist group al-Shabab frequently conduct deadly cross-border attacks in the central African republic. More than 400 people have perished in attacks since 2012.
To thwart this threat, Kenya will be constructing a 700-kilometre perimeter security wall along the border it shares with Somalia. Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery confirmed that the fence will be constructed as part of a larger effort to curb cross-border attacks. Nkaissery reassured the public that the wall would not limit the legal cross-border movement of people, despite claims by the Somali government and local clan leaders.
Construction can now commence after the Kenyan government secured the support of the influential Maheran clan, a heavily armed group on the Somali border that bitterly opposed the plan until now. Eighty Kenyan soldiers died in the clan’s territory in January. Authorities believe clan members were involved in the attack. Their support should go a long way toward calming the spirits in the area.
“This wall will help us check on people like al-Shabab from crossing to and from Somalia. We will not limit movement of other people. There is a need for joint cooperation between both countries and our leaders in dealing with terrorism, which has affected us negatively,” Nkaissery said.
The perimeter barrier will be comprised of a concrete wall, an electric barbed-wire fence, and trenches. Electronic surveillance will be installed at observations posts along the wall. Border posts will be erected at five points along the barrier.