Leaders of Kenya’s northeastern counties met this week and vowed to fight against Al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based militant group that has terrorized the region since 2011.
One troubling question hung over the meeting: How can that be done effectively? The five counties represented at the two-day meeting — Mandera, Garissa, Isiolo, Wajir and Marsabit — all have seen their share of deadly Al-Shabaab attacks.
The worst one took place in April 2015, when militant gunmen stormed Garissa University College and killed 148 people, most of them students.
More recently, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for attacks that killed eight security officers in Wajir County in June and two teachers in Mandera County this month.
Ali Korane, the governor of Garissa County, said northeast Kenya is hugely suffering as a result of such terror attacks.
“Today our schools are not functional, our roads are impassable, doctors have abandoned hospitals, and carrying out development projects is impossible, and all these are the results of the regional insecurity posed by the terrorists,” Korane said. “We have to pull out all the stops to prevent” further attacks.
The meeting in Mandera city was the first to bring together politicians, elders, villagers and officials from Kenyan security agencies to discuss insecurity and al-Shabab attacks in northeastern Kenya.
Mandera County Deputy Gov. Mohamed Arai, whose county borders Somalia, called for the withdrawal of Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) soldiers from neighboring Somalia. Al-Shabaab began its attacks in Kenya after the KDF entered Somalia in 2011 to help protect the perennially shaky Somali government.
Source: Voice of America