Rights group wants faster completion of suspended Somalia border wall

Former Police IG Joseph Boinnet inspects the Somalia Border wall .MPs have raised fears of a possible scam at the stalled wall PHOTO COURTESY

Lamu, KENYA: Rights body Haki Africa wants the national government to speed up completion of the Lamu-Somalia border wall saying the move will greatly reduce illegal immigration of terrorists in Lamu, Garissa and Tana River counties.

In early 2015, the national government announced plans to put up a 700-kilometer wall on the Lamu-Somalia border in an effort to cut out illegal immigration of terrorists from the war-torn country.

There has been an increase in the number of illegal immigrants crossing over from Somalia and entering Lamu and the neighboring counties through Kiunga, Ras Kiamboni and Ishakani in Lamu East.

Speaking in Lamu on Wednesday,Haki Africa Organization Executive Director Hussein Khalid accused the Kenyan government of laxity in the completion of the border wall while knowing very well the real danger posed by terrorists who take advantage of the porous border to cross over as they wish and conduct deadly attacks that have left hordes of civilians and security officers dead.

Khalid says completion of the wall will completely seal off any gaps and loopholes used by terrorists to cross in and out of the three counties and subsequently reduce radicalization in the region.

“When that wall is done, there will be no way someone will cross in or out without being seen by security. We believe these attacks being witnessed in Lamu, Tana River, and Garissa will be a thing of the past. We shall also have dealt with radicalization since the terrorists will have no way of coming in to recruit, neither will they be able to cross back to Somalia with the recruits,” said Khalid.

He says the manner and slow rate at which the border wall in being set up gives the impression that the project is just another white elephant project with no viability as is the case with many others where the taxpayer has coughed out billions.

Khalid believes completion of the wall holds the key towards resolving security challenges in Northern Kenya as security units will now be able to maintain proper vigils and spot terrorists from miles away.

He says the fact terror attacks are still happening is enough proof that there is still a challenge at the border points which needs a permanent solution in the name of a complete border wall.

“If people are still dying inside Kenya at the hands of Al Shabaab, then that tells a lot on whether or not we are doing enough to keep them out of our country in the first place. The government is too quiet on the issue and we need to know why,” said Khalid.