Mandera Governor Ali Roba clashes with security officials over Al Shabaab presence


Mandera Governor Ali Roba
File Photo of Mandera Governor Ali Roba.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba has accused the security forces in the county of laxity, leading to increasingly high levels of insecurity in the region.

According to Roba, Al Shabaab militia have continued to exploit the county by staging attacks at will.

However, security officials say that is not the case as measures have been put in place to counter the terrorists’ activities.

Despite the progress made over the years as regards fighting the Al Shabaab menace in the North Eastern part of the country, Roba is concerned that the previous narrative that saw the region almost become synonymous with insecurity is slowly becoming the true reality of the region due to events in the last two months.

“More than 50% of this county’s roads are under the control of Al Shabaab…ever since I made that report, we’ve had 4 incidences of terror attacks,” said the governor.

On January 11 this year, a Mandera-bound bus was shot at by persons believed to be Al Shabaab militia at Banisa area, 200 km away from the Kenya-Somalia border.

Another case was reported the same day in the same area when a private vehicle said to be ferrying examination materials blew up after hitting an explosive; the two occupants however survived.

A day later, Al Shabaab militia destroyed the communication mast at Derkale. On the 14th of this month, they would again try their luck but fail as they were intercepted as they tried to destroy the communication mast at Dikuro.

The attacks coming a month after similar incidents that saw a new police borehole destroyed and a KPR officer killed at Guticha village, a telecommunication mast at Elele area destroyed, as well as an attack on an ambulance that left one person dead and another three nursing injuries..

“Al Shabaab is having unrestricted access to the interior…what are we doing wrong yet we have all these personnel here? Nimepewa support yote but management ya security ya kaunti has an issue with respect to dealing with terror threats,” added Governor Roba.

Mandera County Commissioner Onesmus Kytha, however, said: “Just a few isolated cases and government has put in mechanisms to deal with it, what we just need is members of the public to support us, because some of these people committing theses crimes are our sons.”

According to a press statement by North Eastern Regional Commissioner Nicodemus Musyoki Ndalana, it is highly regrettable that Governor Roba chose to address such delicate and complex national security concerns in the manner he did. He further pointed out that county leaders’ actions have the potential of heightening tensions and possibly placing lives at risk.

Governor Roba insists however, “How do I keep quiet knowing that we cant attract skills from other counties to come and work here in hospitals schools? Out of 295 schools, just 129 schools are open.

As Governor Roba insists that a sitting with President Uhuru Kenyatta and the regional security heads to allow for security strategic planning is long overdue, security officials want the public to remain committed in alerting authorities on any suspicious persons or activities.

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Story By Raquel Muigai
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