Covid-19: Aerial surveillance on border with Somalia, Ethiopia starts

Tuesday March 24 2020
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Wajir County Commissioner Jacob Narengo who has revealed that the government has enhanced aerial surveillance along the border with Somalia and Ethiopia to prevent illegal entry of people into the county in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. PHOTO | BRUHAN MAKONG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BRUHAN MAKONG

The government has enhanced aerial surveillance along the border with Somalia and Ethiopia in an effort to prevent illegal entry of vehicles and people.

The new measure is aimed at combating spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic into the country.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday, Wajir County Commissioner Jacob Narengo said the county shares a porous border with the two countries, which makes it difficult for security agencies to man all the entry points into the county, making it a high risk area.

BOOST SECURITY

Mr Narengo said the move will also boost security along the border as the country intensifies the war on Al-Shabaab militants who have continued to stage attacks in the northern region.

The Ministry of Health recently listed Wajir among 14 counties facing a high risk of Covid-19 outbreak.

Both Ethiopia and Somalia have already reported confirmed cases of the coronavirus and now Mr Narengo says they will leave nothing to chance.

Ethiopia has already confirmed five cases of coronavirus, Somalia one while Kenya has seven confirmed cases since the outbreak of the virus which was first reported in Wuhan city in China.

SMUGGLED GOODS

Mr Narengo warned that the government is aware of illegal smuggling of people and goods through the border, adding that security personnel will be on the lookout for any vehicles crossing from the neighbouring countries.

Illegal immigrants from Ethiopia and Somalia have continued to take advantage of the vast border to sneak into the country while smugglers have brought in others.

This puts Wajir at risk should an infected person manage to evade security checks along the border.

However, in a bid to prevent this, the county commissioner stated that they will carry out security checks on all vehicles, adding that not even vehicles with Kenyan number plates will be spared.

24-HOUR SURVEILLANCE

"Our aerial surveillance teams along the borderline will be on 24/7 vigilance to ensure that no foreign or Kenyan registered vehicle is left undetected or unchecked," said Mr Narengo.

He called on the residents to work with the security agencies by sharing any relevant information for the sake of peace.

"We are appealing to the residents to volunteer any information that will help our security officers as they protect our country," he said.

Just recently, residents of Diff, a small town which sits along the Kenyan-Somalia border, expressed concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, calling on the government to deploy medical personnel along the border to test people getting into the county from neighbouring countries, saying they risk contracting the disease.