Kenya draws patrol lessons at US-Mexico border
NEW YORK, United States, Sep 27 – US Border Patrol officials deal with thousands of people making illegal crossings from Mexico every month.
Apart from children and families making the crossings, the US has to deal with the shipment of illicit drugs and this week, Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery witnessed first-hand the arrest of three individuals trying to smuggle marijuana into the US.
Nkaissery had been on a three-day learning mission at El Paso on the US-Mexico border together with PS Monica Juma to better understand how officials deal with border patrol and control.
“I benefitted immensely from the visit. Prior to my mission, I had sent a 25-member team on a two-week tour of the border crossing as part of efforts to improve Kenya’s border surveillance,” Nkaissery told reporters in New York Saturday.
Kenya is itself grappling with managing the flow of persons, crossing the porous 700 kilometer border with Somalia, and is in the process of erecting a fence to control inflow of illegal arms and people.
The barrier is expected to bolster security after a string of terror attacks in the northern part of the country blamed on the Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabaab militia.
It consists of a series of concrete barriers, fences, ditches and observation posts overlooked by CCTV cameras.
It is part of a series of measures announced by the Kenyan government to crack down on extremism in its midst in the wake of an attack by al-Shabaab on Garissa University in the northeast which saw 148 people, most of them students killed.
On Saturday, Nkaissery said the sticking issue of refugees will be addressed at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly and hoped the crisis in Europe would enable the world better understand Kenya’s position on the handling and planned repatriation of refugees.
“Some of the countries are complaining about dealing with 40,000 refugees. Kenya. Has been dealing with 600,000 to 700,000 refugees, and we hope to engage in beneficial discussions on this matter.”
He explained that in his interaction with US Border Patrol, he met a team that was training Tanzania on use of dogs to detect drugs and expects Kenya to benefit from similar training.
US President Barack Obama was due to convene a meeting at the UN General Assembly to discuss peacekeeping and violent extremism which Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was expected to attend.