Growing desperation over Al-Shabaab terror threat in Kenya’s north
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Schools are shut due to an exodus of teachers, travel has become risky because of armed attacks and roadside bombs, and cellphone towers are regularly destroyed.
In the vast, arid northern corner of Kenya, bordering Somalia and Ethiopia, frustration is boiling over due to the growing strength of the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab jihadist group in the region.
Some 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) and a world apart from the bustling capital Nairobi or Kenya’s famed beaches and wildlife parks, the county of Mandera is increasingly coming under the control of Al-Shabaab, the area’s governor warned recently.
In a rare public cry for help, governor Ali Roba published a long letter in January over the “undeterred movements of terror cells within the county”, saying the government was “failing miserably” at stopping them.
He cited a recent Al-Shabaab attack on an ambulance carrying a pregnant woman, and the beheading of a local chief in December whose “head was thrown into a bush.”
“A police post was attacked … Mobile phone transmission stations are regularly attacked and masts felled leaving residents cut-off from communication,” the governor wrote in a letter published in The Standard newspaper.
“Highways in Mandera are now controlled by Al-Shabaab that harasses travellers and target civil servants on the roads.”
Situated on the Somali border, the often drought-stricken Mandera is a region where most of the population live off pastoralism, and is already one of the least developed counties in Kenya.
The governor has also said that 126 schools have yet to reopen in his county due to insecurity, after several attacks on “non-local” teachers in the largely Muslim area in recent years.
Source: Yahoo News