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Kenya: Build that Wall!

Kenya: Build that Wall!

As part of its national security plan to curtail terror attacks by al-Shabaab, Kenya has decided to erect a 435-mile wall between the two countries. 

As confirmed by Kenyan Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, however, the barrier is not aimed to dissuade or prevent the movement of people between the two countries. The wall will serve only to inhibit Somali jihadists belonging to al-Shabaab, the Somali terrorist group responsible for killing more than 400 Kenyans since 2012. 

The Somalia-based terrorist group has been linked with ISIS rival al-Qaeda and has reportedly been fighting with ISIS over land in Somalia. They are also fighting an insurgency against the Somali Federal Government.

The militant group targeted Kenya’s Garissa University last spring, launching an attack that killed 147 people and wounded many more. They attacked a quarry in Kormey, Kenya just a few months earlier – executing more than 30 non-Muslims workers and dumping their bodies into the quarry. 

In early March, the United States led a successful aerial bombing attack that killed over 150 al-Shabaab jihadists at a training camp in Somalia. 

“This wall will help us check on people like al-Shabaab from crossing to and from Somalia. We will not limit movement of other people. There is a need for joint cooperation between both countries and our leaders in dealing with terrorism, which has affected us negatively,” said Nkaissery. 

Until recently, the armed and powerful Somali border community known as the “Maheran clan” had violently opposed the idea of a wall. Kenyan officials have blamed local clan militias for an attack this January in which more than 80 Kenyan soldiers were killed. The Kenyan government was finally able to secure the Maheran clan’s support last Sunday just before announcing plans to build the wall.

The barrier will consist of a concrete wall lined with trenches and a barbed-wire electric fence. Electronic surveillance cameras will monitor movements on both sides of the wall. 

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