Kenya To Build 200 Km Wall Along Somali Border

Kenya Wants To Separate Kenya and Somalia

Kenya plans to start the construction of a separation wall along the border with Somalia this week as part of efforts to contain terror attacks.

The separation barrier is intended to keep out illegal immigrants from Somalia as well as dangerous Alshabaab militants, to shut Kenya off from their neighbors Somalia, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery has told the media.

Mr. Nkaissery said his government will start the construction of the wall from the Mandera down to Wajir to reduce border entries.

Borderline bus

He said the security wall will provide a long term security effort to secure the border. Adding that once the wall’s construction is completed, it will only be crossed by entering through the appropriate border points.

“Mandera and Bulahawa are almost merged and you cannot tell which is which. Now we want to put up a wall at border point one and close the border. That will reduce the porous border entries into our country,” he said.

The Islamist group Alshabaab has carried out a series of deadly attacks in northern Kenya and other areas, including the capital city of Nairobi.

Kenyan interior cabinet secretary

Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow welcomed the move but argued it is not a long-term solution.

“He is admitting there are terrorists operating there and not bandits as he has been claiming. We hope it will help in containing the problem,” said Mr Kerrow.

He said it would be difficult and expensive to construct and man the over 200km long wall.

Kenyan troops moved into Somalia in October 2011 to try to establish a defense zone between the country and Kenya following an increase in cross-border attacks by al-Shabaab.

The mission appeared to have backfired, with al-Shabaab militants able to cross the border at will and carry out attacks in Kenya a few times after the operation was launched.

Some in Kenya blame corrupt police officers and immigration officials for allowing the militants across the border. The separation wall, however, in financial terms will come at a cost: the construction, the maintenance per kilometer each year; in addition to that, it may have a negative impact on how the neighboring societies interact, one that could have troubling long term implications for peace and stability in the region.

Omar Wardere is a Somali researcher, reporter and editor. He is a committee member of National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and member of Foreign Correspondents Association of East Africa.