Kenya’s Mandera County Teeters on Edge of Al-Shabaab Rule: Governor

NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – Governor of Kenya’s Mandera County has raised alarm over increasing presence of Al-Shabaab militants, who have taken control of strategic locations in the county in recent months amid deteriorating security in the northeast of the country.

The governor said the group is getting bolder and more aggressive by the day, and undeterred movements of Al-Shabaab fighters caused serious security crisis in the county.

Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab which has been carrying out attacks in Kenya since Kenyan Defense Forces’ incursion into Somalia in 2011 now controls more than 60% of Mandera County, the governor said.

“They roam freely and the public has kept on reporting these movements but unfortunately the situation has kept on growing from bad to worse,” he said.

“The terrorists boldly video record their actions and the purpose of the footage remains unclear what the intention is.”

For the first time, the governor of Kenya’s Mandera County has confirmed that Al-Shabaab collects Zakat on livestock owned by local pastoralists and stressed that a radical approach is needed to manage the trend.

Al-Shabaab has recently attacked an ambulance in the county killing one person and later torched another ambulance owned by the county administration.

It had earlier beheaded a chief in charge of a town in north eastern Kenya, who had been reportedly a vocal voice against the Islamist group.

A number of police outposts in the county have been attacked and flattened by the militants over the past weeks along with mobile phone transmission stations.

Mandera governor says the county is now controlled by the group that stops vehicles and targets civil servants traveling between major cities.

“As it stands, the ugly truth is that Al Shabab has taken control of over 50 per cent of the landmass of Northern Kenya. We have been left with no choice but to liberate ourselves from terror rule that is growing stronger by the day. Otherwise, we close the schools because there is no schooling without teachers,” he said.

The governor said there is an urgent need for a radical review and redesign of the security program as it relates to fighting terror because evidently, it is failing miserably.

“Buildings mean nothing without teachers. I take this opportunity to plead with my colleagues the leaders of Northern Kenya to prepare our public for an uprising against Al Shabab. It is better we lose thousands of lives fighting terrorists but remain free in our country,” he said.

Roba said though President Uhuru Kenyatta has given them all the support they need in terms of personnel, weapons and every support literally required to fight terror, the onus is upon the security managers to put the security resources to optimal and effective use which is not the case.

“Sadly, the security personnel could not even protect themselves forget about protecting the public. We cannot accept to have continuous generational failures of our population,” he said.

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