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Kenyan parliament ‘satisfied’ with progress on border wall

Storyline:National News

By Fauxile Kibet

The Kenyan Parliamentary Committee of Defence and Foreign Relations has said it is satisfied with the pace of construction of the Kenya – Somalia border security wall.

The committee, which toured Mandera last week to assess the progress of the border wall also said that the Kenya Defence Forces overseeing the construction had done a great job.

“We are also in a public engagement forum to collect views from residents on whether or not to withdraw Kenyan forces in Somalia, said committee’s chairman Katoo ole Mitito,

Participants who spoke at a review meeting by the committee after touring the site of construction said that residents in the area recommend that Kenya withdraws its forces from Somalia.

They said that residents prefer Kenya to guard the border and that the idea to set up the security wall was a good step towards securing kenya’s borders.

A resident, Suleiman Adan said security has highly improved since the construction of the wall commenced.

“There have been no attacks for the past one year unlike in the past where Al Shabaab used to attack ten times in a week,” said Suleiman, whose sentiments also echoed by area deputy governor, Mohamed Arai.

The  Principal Secretary for Defence, Saitoti  Torome said the delegation will take the residents’ concerns to the executive for consideration by cabinet.

Mr.Saitoti said the government will implement what is viable in the contributions and leave out what it cannot.

He said Kenya is part of AMISOM forces in Somalia and that its proximity to Somalia was leaving the country vulnerable to Al Shabaab attacks more than the other members comprising the over 20,000 African troops pursuing the militants in Somalia.

On their part, KDF engineers said 12 kilometers of the wall has been built for the past one year and expressed confidence the work will be fast-tracked.

They said 12 kilometers of the barbed wire wall fitted with heavy wire mesh in between them and concrete poles running parallel to each other with a three meter trench dug on the Kenyan side plus a patrol road has been built.

Some two kilometers of the wall has not been built near Bula Hawa in Somalia due to encroachment into the no man’s land by Somalia nationals.

Area County Commissioner, Kutswa Olaka said the ministries of foreign affairs in Kenya and Somalia were in consultation to decide on the fate of illegal structures built along the common border.