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Wall construction has reduced terror incidents in Mandera, official says

MANDERA, KENYA: The construction of a wall in parts of Mandera County has helped tame cases of terror attacks in the town, an official says.

The wall has already covered ten kilometers from the Kenya-Ethiopia-Somalia border and plans are to increase the stretch to 28 kilometers.

North Eastern regional commissioner Mohamud Saleh said since the stretch of the wall was constructed, incidents of attacks in the town have gone down by more than 90 percent.

“Those terrorists used to attack and run to Somalia but since the wall was erected, the incidents are now almost zero in Mandera Town,” he said on the phone as he inspected the ongoing construction of the wall.

Saleh said 90 percent of Mandera County is peaceful apart from the stretch from Arabia to Kotulo where he termed as “volatile, unpredictable, challenging and ambiguous.

He said Al-Shabaab operatives use the area to carry out incursions by attacking security vehicles, plant landmines, target security installations and communication masts before retreating back to Somalia.

He however said the government is reviewing its strategies to come up with new methods to combat terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism in the region at large.

The government has not disclosed the cost of constructing the barrier but officials say it will comprise a concrete barrier with listening posts, surveillance stations and CCTV cameras.

Saleh said the government will fast-track the construction of the 700km security wall aimed at blocking Al-Shabaab militants who enter Kenya through the porous border.

The wall, a series of concrete barriers, fences, ditches and observation posts overlooked by CCTV stations that is expected to stretch from the Indian Ocean to the city of Mandera where both countries converge with Ethiopia.

The wall is manned by the Kenya Defence Forces soldiers who are already on the ground.

A surveillance road is also being built, running parallel with the barrier, for easier monitoring of the border.

The barrier was expected to be modeled on the snaking structure that separates Israel from Palestine’s West Bank and would have seen bricks, mortar and barbed wire line the border.

Saleh said the contractors will skip places where there are valleys and mountains as the exercise goes on.

The wall, whose cost was initially estimated at Sh20 billion, had been touted as Kenya’s best bet in keeping Somalia-based terrorists Al-Shabaab from sneaking into the country.

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