The fencing of three kilometres of the Kenya-Somalia border is complete after the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) took over its construction over two months ago.
The project, initiated by the Ministry of Interior in 2015 as a wall project, has since been switched to wire fencing along the porous border.
Concrete poles joined with barbed wire, wire mesh and razor wire have been erected on the three-kilometre stretch.
The project, initiated after the April terror attack on Garissa University College, stalled after the National Youth Service (NYS) personnel working on it downed their tools, saying they had not been paid for their work.
Speaking while inspecting the ongoing works on Thursday, Maj-Gen K.T. Chepkuto from the KDF Engineering Department said a stretch of 30 kilometres will be completed in the next four months.
“We will do the first 30 kilometres within the stipulated time since people are energised,” he said.
He said Kenyan military officials are working closely with the Somalia National Army (SNA) to ensure the work is done peacefully.
“The only possible challenge could be from Bulahawa, but SNA are working with us to ensure the project progresses swiftly,” he said.
Mandera Governor Ali Roba lauded the progress made in two months.
Earlier, he had questioned the national government’s commitment in securing the county.
VISIBLE WORK DONE
“We are happy with the progress of the security sensitisation programme as visible work has been done unlike in the last two months when we visited the site,” he said.
He said the fencing is not intended to lock anybody out of Mandera but it is about security by restricting human access only through identified entry and exit points.
“We want our brothers from Somalia to do business with us through the customs border and we can … keep unwanted elements of society out,” said Mr Roba.
During the 2016 Mashujaa Day celebrations, Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia announced that the military would take over the project.
Mr Roba said the county’s concern is fencing the 30km stretch between Mandera Town and Somalia’s Bulahawa.
“Our request was re-energising and expediting the work for the first 30 kilometres to secure Mandera Town and there is hope for us,” said Mr Roba.
He said once the Mandera Town stretch is covered, terrorists will not be able to access Mandera.
Lafey MP Isaack Shaaban, a member of the parliamentary Security Committee said the progress is commendable.
“We would wish to have borderless countries in Africa to enable trade but due to challenges posed by Somalia, we are safeguarding Mandera,” said Mr Shaaban.