Al-Shabaab almost controls Mandera in Kenya – Governor Roba
MANDERA, Kenya – Al-Shabaab militants have nearly taken control of Mandera County in northeast Kenya, Governor Ali Roba has said, which could precipitate swift actions by the government of Kenya, which has also struggled to contain the violent extremism.
In a letter sent to newsrooms, the second-term governor said the simmering security crisis was caused by the undeterred movement of terrorists in the county, despite the strong presence of security forces in the area.
“This situation has worsened over the past three months, but it has now reached unprecedented levels,” Governor Roba said in a passionate plea for help. “Terrorists forcibly pick up cattle from defenseless pastoralists in the name of Zakat (compulsory charity).”
Mandera, Wajir and Garissa have witnessed more than 30 Al-Shabaab-related attacks last year, with non-locals, security forces and innocent civilians most affected. The activists also targeted telecommunications infrastructure in the region.
And now the governor claims more than half of the county’s landmass is under al-Shabaab, adding that the team is oppressing the residents. The situation, he noted, should be quickly remedied for the sake of stability and development.
“There is a need to change our approach in the way we deal with this situation, otherwise we will soon be under terrorist rule.” Already, Al Shabaab manages more than 60% of Mandera with the will of the public stifled by terror ”, declared the governor Roba.
“They roam free and the public has been reporting on their movements (actionable intelligence), unfortunately the situation has continued to go from bad to worse.”
Omar Adan Buul, a deputy leader who spoke out against Al Shabaab, he noted, was kidnapped on December 18 and beheaded in the most cruel manner in Wajir County along the border with Mandera. His head was thrown into the bush.
A police station, he said, was attacked and a new building was leveled with explosives. Mobile phone transmission stations are regularly attacked and masts are brought down, cutting off residents from the rest of the country and the world.
“The government has failed to fully protect northern Kenya from Al Shabaab. As it stands, the sad truth is that Al Shabaab has taken control of over 50 percent of the landmass in northern Kenya. The public must now stand up and help the government, by all means, possible to get rid of this terrorist group, ”added Roba.
For several years, the Rapid Intervention Unit, the Border Patrol Unit and the KDF special forces have been serving the region. There are several forward operating bases in the region that house the Kenyan Defense Forces deployed in northeast Kenya.
The government, he said, should ensure that militants, whose main base is in Somalia, are expelled from the country for the sake of peace and stability. He noted that despite the presence of security forces, the situation still remains fluid.
“However, the increased presence of our security personnel has not deterred the Al Shabaab movement in northern Kenya. The government should do everything to expel Al Shabaab. We refuse to be led into independent Kenya by this. militia.”