Building of Kenya-Somalia border wall begins

National Youth Service personnel clear the way for the construction of a wall at Kiunga Border Post in Lamu County on Tuesday. The Government wants to control movement along Kenya-Somalia border. [Photo: Paul Gitau/Standard]

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Groundbreaking work for the proposed wall between Kenya and Somalia has begun in Kiunga, Lamu County, under heavy police and military guard amid alleged protests by the Somali government.

The National Youth Service (NYS) Wednesday started digging a trench that will provide a foundation for the wall at a section where Kenya’s border with Somalia meets the Indian Ocean. The section overlooks uninhabited islands suspected to be a hide-out for Al-Shabaab militants and also believed to provide a safe passage for smugglers. Residents watched from a distance as NYS, using heavy equipment, began the arduous task supervised by top security and immigration officers. The Government has on numerous occasions promised to build the wall amid protests from the troubled Horn of African nation, but the matter appears to have acquired a sense of urgency following the terror attack on Garissa University in which over 147 people were killed. Kenyan authorities believe a physical barrier will stem the terror attacks. “We want to know who is entering our country and where they access the country from,” said Director of Immigration Services Major General (rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa. The wall will comprise a concrete barrier with listening posts, surveillance stations and CCTV cameras. The cost of the barrier has not been disclosed and it is not clear when it will be completed.

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