GABORONE, Botswana — Kenya has confirmed it will begin construction of go ahead with plans to construct a 700-kilometer-long security wall along the northeastern border with Somalia as part of a broader national security plan to curb cross-border terror attacks by Somali terrorist group al-Shabab Al Shebbab.
Addressing the media in Nairobi over the weekend, Kenya's Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said that contrary to assertions by the Somali government and some influential clans and communities on either side of the border, the fence would not limit or deter or limit the free movement of people between the two countries.
Instead, he said the fence would limit cross-border terrorist movements and enable the country to prevent attacks which have killed more than 400 people in the country since 2012.
On Sunday, the Kenyan government secured the support of the Maheran clan, an armed and influential Somali border community that was until now bitterly opposed to the plan. In January this year, at least 80 Kenyan soldiers died in the Maheran clan communal area in an attack Kenyan officials believe was carried out with the help of local clan militias.
"This wall will help us check on people like al-Shabab 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," Nkaissery said.
He said the security barrier consists of a concrete wall ringed with a barbed-wire electric fence and trenches. It will also have observation posts where electronic surveillance cameras will be installed to monitor movements on either side of the border.
Additionally, the wall will have border posts in Mandera, Lamu and three other border towns. The project is fully funded by the Kenyan government, with labor coming from the Ministry of Transport and the National Youth Service, while the Kenya Defence Forces provides security to the construction crews.