Friday May 26, 2023
Kenya Defence Forces at Mandera border post. Image: HANDOUT
A man believed to be a member of Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) was arrested in Mandera Town after crossing the border while armed with a rifle.He went to Mandera police station and sought directions on where he could get an alcoholic shop in the town.
Police said Mohamed Sheikh Abdullah, 22, arrived in the town on May 22 at about 1 pm after crossing the main border while dressed in half uniform and wanted to know where he could get an alcoholic shop.
When denied entry to the station, he went back to Bullahawa town in Somalia and came back in full uniform and now armed with an AK47 rifle.
Police said on arrival, he fired several bullets into the air.
The officers on duty took cover and later approached the NISA officer and disarmed him, police said.
He was arrested and put in custody before his seniors were informed.
There were talks between the security agencies on how to handle the matter.
Officials said they were not sure what the motive of the man was.
“Maybe he wanted to harm or kill people or buy alcohol but we were not sure and we are investigating,” said a senior officer aware of the issue.
NISA is the national intelligence agency of the Federal Republic of Somalia.
Another official said they suspect the officer was stressed.
The border is usually breached by both terrorists and such groups.
Terror group al-Shabaab is the biggest threat in the area and this has forced Kenya to close the border points.
There are plans to re-open the border after its closure for almost 12 years.
The border region has borne the brunt of repeated attacks from the militants who are at times aided by locals.
Somalia has not had a stable government after the fall of Siad Barre in 1991.
The area is near the Somalia border and the militants usually cross at will and stage attacks before escaping back.
Al-Shabaab terrorists have been attacking places in the region, especially in Mandera and Garissa counties after breaching security zones, which left dozens of civilians and security officials dead and wounded.
Kenya has constructed 14 fully equipped Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) along the Kenya-Somalia border as part of efforts to bolster security in the area.
This is ahead of the planned drawdown of Kenya Defence Forces from Somalia, Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale said.
“We are fully committed that when the drawdown from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) comes, we are secure as a country by ensuring that when al-Shabaab feel the heat of the Somalia Security Forces they don’t come to find refuge in Kenya.”
“Our military has a conspicuous presence along the borderline to ensure that Kenyans are secure,” said the CS.