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Security chiefs in Garissa hail improvement of security
Saturday, July 06, 2013

Kenya’s security chiefs in Garissa County near border with Somalia have hailed a sharp improvement in security over the last month, and called for cooperation amongst residents to maintain the gains.

Garissa County Commissioner Rashid Khator said on Wednesday that progress had been made in curbing attacks in the town by suspected Al-Shabaab assailants, but warned that the gains made could be reversed.

“Success will emerge slowly and fitfully with reverses as well as advances. Inevitably there will be more tough days and more tough weeks, but fewer of them Inshallah (God willing) before we are able to completely root out these wanton persons from our town, “ Khator told journalists in Garissa town.

“Now, levels of violence and civilian and security personnel casualties are significantly reduced and hope has been rekindled within the Garissa community. To be sure, the progress is reversible and there is much more to be done.”

Khator attributed the improvement of the security situation in the town to the reinforcement of the security personnel in the town by government and the improvement of communication and cooperation between residents and the area security agencies.

“Through this cooperation we have managed to gain valuable information concerning planned attacks and those behind them thus making it easy to stop such plans from reaching fruition,” Khator said.

The past one month has seen a lull in attacks by the Islamist militiamen in the town. The last such attack happened on May 29 where a middle-aged terror suspect was ripped to pieces after an Improvised Explosive Dervice (IED) he was trying to plant along a busy road went off, killing him instantly and severely wounding his accomplices.

The decline in attacks came after Nairobi sent some 5,000 extra security men to the town to beef up safety in the town.

Although the security situation has improved over the past few weeks, authorities have been cautious not to declare victory and be seen as overly optimistic.

A spot check around the town revealed residents had eased up a little bit but still expressed fear over the next attack.

One resident, who spoke to Xinhua and requested anonymity for fear of being targeted, expressed relief in the break of attacks.

“We understand the Al-Shabaab are currently engaged in some serious fighting amongst themselves in central Somalia and this seems to have taken their attention from us,” he said, “long may they continue fighting and may they kill each other.”

Very important persons continue to move around the town heavily guarded, while high value installations like government offices, schools, churches and the Tana Bridge linking northeast Kenya with the rest of the country continue to be guarded by armed policemen around the clock.

Vehicles and visitors also continue to be checked before being allowed into many public places with GSU personnel still being seen patrolling the town with the government still maintaining the dawn to dusk curfew on taxi and motorcycle taxis.

The question now is whether the calm can be maintained in the coming days as residents of Garissa who are mostly Muslims brace for the holy month of Ramadhan.

Major towns in northern Kenya namely Wajir and Mandera have experienced recurrent explosives, some claiming human lives since the country military incursion into Somalia to pursue members of the Somali Islamist militant group, who were blamed for abduction and incursion into the country. 


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