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January 20, 2019

State to increase security in Ijara to ward off Shabaab

Interior CS Fred Matiangi and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet meet North Eastern leaders led by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji over insecurity in the region on Friday
Interior CS Fred Matiangi and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet meet North Eastern leaders led by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji over insecurity in the region on Friday

The government plans to increase security in Ijara constituency due to its proximity to Boni Forest where al Shabaab militants have been hiding.

Interior CS Fred Matiang’i on Friday said the government will continue executing its cardinal responsibility of protecting citizens and property. “We will not only supplement police patrols in the area but also encourage constructive participation by the community to increase crime reporting,” the CS said.

Matiang’i said the new measures will go a long way in ensuring an ideal environment for effective response to security challenges in the best interests of the community and the country.

Matiang’i spoke after receiving a memo of concerns from a team of Ijara leaders in his Harambee Office.

The memo was signed by Garissa senator Yusuf Haji, Ijara MP Sophia Noor, Garissa deputy governor Abdi Dakane and MCAs Irshad Osman (Ijara), Adow Said (Hulugho), Abdullahi Buthul (Sangailu), Abukar Shide (Masalani) and Ayan Mohamed (nominated).

The leaders identified community mistrust of the police as one of the major challenges contributing to insecurity in the area.

They proposed more collaboration between security officers and the Kenya Police Reservists. The leaders also recommended the upgrading of major roads to ease movements of security personnel.

Matiang’i said the government will continue sealing all the security loopholes, especially infiltration of the militants along the Southern Somalia border.

“Our plan is to ensure collaboration with the people and the local leaders in security operations,” he said. The CS said community policing forums will not only foster communication but also enhance complementary support.

In February, KDF troops killed three al Shabaab militants in Boni Forest and recovered three AK-47 rifles, 236 bullets, bomb-making materials and their personal items.

In December last year, al Shabaab militants destroyed a safaricom mast in Ijara cutting off communication before looting a shop in the town.

The militia also razed Ijara police station and made away with a police Land Cruiser and ammunition.

After the mast was destroyed, residents were forced to travel more than 100km to Masalani town to access services. The militants were suspected to be hiding in Boni Forest.

The mast has been reinstalled. Residents commended area MP Noor, who was among leaders who pushed for the reinstallment of the mast.

Last month, Hulugho deputy county commissioner Richard Siele said a multi-agency team including KDF, police, reservists and the Rapid Deployment Unit have been traversing the area to weed out militants.

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