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Faith Nyasuguta 

The ongoing campaign against al Shabaab terror group in parts of Somalia is thought to be a contributing factor to the surge in attacks in Kenya.

Over 30 people, the majority of them security officials, have been killed in recent separate attacks by the terrorist group near the Kenya-Somalia border.

According to officials, the attacks started after Mogadishu launched attacks on the terrorists’ territories displacing them.

The campaign has displaced the majority of  terrorists who escaped to Kenya.

Intelligence reports started to indicate as early as May this year that the group was arriving in small groups and vanished after arriving at the border.

After a lull of almost eight months, the first attack was reported in Mandera on May 2, 2023.

Pockets of the terrorists have since arrived in Kenya and are being used in the attacks. Low morale in the front-line security teams has also been cited as part of the reasons the attacks are on the rise.

The multi-agency teams led by the Special Operations Group had been leading an onslaught on the terrorists and managed to push them out of many places including Forests.

Some of the officers claim they have not received the stipends they used to get.

The stipends stopped after the new government announced cuts in various financial commitment departments.

Plans are underway to return the money to the officers on the ground, sources said.

The change of guard in the government and security at large staggered an operation that was ongoing along the border.

President William Ruto came to power last year and changed security chiefs including the military, police and intelligence.

This is believed to have contributed to the rise of the incidents as the teams on the ground employed a wait-and-see strategy hence affecting their plans.

Insiders believe the terror group is opposed to plans to reopen the Kenya-Somalia border and hence wants to increase the attacks to force the authorities to stop the same.

The terror group wants to continue collecting taxes on contraband goods coming to Kenya.

“They know once the border is reopened they will lose the money they collect from contraband goods. They are increasing the attacks to force the halting of the plans to open the border,” said an official aware of the trend.

Failure by locals to identify and report the terrorists has also contributed to the incidents at large.

They are able to plant bombs on the roads which in the end kill and maim many.

Lack of equipment to enhance operations in the area is also contributing to the menace.

The agencies in the operations do not have choppers, anti-mine cars and other sophisticated equipment to help them.

Two choppers including one with surveillance equipment that police were using in the operations were diverted elsewhere leaving them without any.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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