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Tighten Mandera's security before census, politicians say

Friday August 16 2019

KDF Linda Boni patrol

A file photo of KDF soldiers during a patrol in Kotile town on the Garissa-Lamu-Somalia border, as part of the Linda Boni operation aimed at flushing out Al-Shabaab terrorists. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IBRAHIM ORUKO
By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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Economic Freedom Party (EFP) has urged the government to heighten security in Northern Kenya ahead of the National Housing and Population Census which will take place next week.

The party has further asked communities in the region to turn up for the account to ensure allocation of adequate resources.

Secretary-General Abdullahi Gesey told a media briefing on Friday of the legitimate risk of runaway insecurity due to frequent attacks by terror group Al-Shabaab and the drought.

He noted these factors can significantly affect the census that will start on the night of August 24 and end on August 31.

“The national government should beef up security in Mandera County because this is critical to the success of the exercise,” Mr Gesey told journalists at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi after a meeting of party officials.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday launched the countdown to the census at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.

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MANY ATTACKS

Others at Friday's meeting were Lafey MP Abdi Mude, EFP chairman Issack Hassan Abey and security expert Hussein Abshiro.

They demanded the government's immediate intervention to ensure no one misses the census, which holds sway on resource allocation.

Mr Abdi asked the government to ensure maximum security in the region due to the infiltration by Al-Shabaab.

“Our people risk missing this important exercise because of the insecurity posed by these extremists. We continue to suffer because of our shared border with Somalia. This, we fear, might make our people miss the count,” he said.

Mr Abshiro appealed to national security officers to exercise restraint and work with locals to flush out the terrorist.

SEVERAL ISSUES

For the last five years, Mandera has been known for terror incidents that have led to many deaths and injuries.

The attacks, mainly by suspected Al-Shabaab militants, started in 2011, with 2014 marking the climax as 64 people were killed in 10 days.

During a meeting with Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i, local leaders led by Governor Ali Roba said the terrorists had been sneaking into Kenya and planting landmines targeting security and government officials.

Regarding the drought, Mr Gesey said most families the county had left their homes in search of food.

He said matters had been worsened by the consistent cases of insecurity.

The leaders also spoke on corruption, saying the supported President Uhuru Kenyatta in the war. They criticised anti-graft agencies for doing little to tame the vice in Mandera.

They also asked the government to consider supplying the region with water especially during the census to ensure no one is left out.