Border wall: Will it stop terror or can Shabaab blast through?

Northeastern residents believe the wall being constructed by the government along the Kenya – Somalia boarder is a waste of time and money and will not help block al Shabaab militia.

Some are unhappy because they expected a concrete wall and not the barbed wire fence being put up.

Others however believe the 440km wall launched in March 2015 is ultimate solution to end the constant attacks by the terror group.

The government had not estimated the cost, but one unofficial estimate places the cost at Sh20 billion, another at Sh203 million a kilometre. The wall is supposed to stretch from Border Point One in Mandera to Kiunga in Lamu county.

“We though it was a concrete wall but what we are seeing is more of a fence and we wonder how it will keep off the militants who are known to use explosives to have their way,” resident Ahmed Mohamed said.

Mohamed said it was better to have a concrete wall that will take years to put up than what they were seeing.

But Resident Abdi Maulid said that the wall was more than enough to deter the militants from moving in and out of the country at will and.

Speaking in Mandera town when he inspected the 8 km completed section of the wall, regional coordinator Mohamud Saleh said the initial concrete security wall was redesigned because of the huge financial implication and that the works will be carried out in phases all the way to Kiunga in Lamu County.

Saleh however said he was satisfied with the work so far done.

According to the new design, the wall is being constructed with parallel chain links, concrete poles running parallel to each other and razor wires running in between them.

A 3 metre deep trench on the Kenyan side also runs along the fence and next to it is a road to be used by security personnel to patrol the border.

Designated entry points will consist of concrete walls feasted with CCTV cameras.

Saleh said project’ is meant to secure residents from terrorist attacks.

He said an additional 28km of the land had been surveyed, its bush cleared and soon the construction will resume.

Sales added that citizens crossing over to the country for business must do so in a structured manner.

“We want to have good relations with our neighbours but we won’t allow our people to be terrorised by anybody,” Saleh said.

“The era the Somali citizens used to walk in and out is no longer there. Anybody coming into Kenya must use a passport or other legal documents,” he added.

“I am satisfied as the chairman of the Northeastern security and intelligence team with the work the being done by the KDF who are undertaking the project,” Saleh noted.

“I want to assure Kenyans that the government is focused on the project. We have no problems with the people of Somalia. They are our neighbours who have had serious security challenges for the past 26 years,” he added.