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Kenya, Somalia Border Wall Construction Resumes

Tuesday August 25, 2020
This image taken on May 10, 2016 in Mandera shows the abandoned project to build a Kenya-Somalia border wall. PHOTO: DAILY NATION
This image taken on May 10, 2016 in Mandera shows the abandoned project to build a Kenya-Somalia border wall. PHOTO: DAILY NATION

The construction of the controversial 700 km wall at the Kenya-Somalia border is back underway according to a former Somali forces Colonel Aden Ruffle.

Speaking on Somalia's Radio Shabelle, the ex-military leader urged the residents of the border areas to remain vigilant and prevent any attempts to encroach on their land, using the perimeter wall as a cover.

The military man went on to explain that the structure consists of a concrete wall ringed with a barbed-wire electric fence and trenches. 

In addition, the perimeter wall will have observation posts where electronic surveillance cameras are set to be installed to aid in monitoring movements on either side of the border.

Following the horrific attack on Garissa University terror attack on April 2, 2015 that claimed 148 lives, majority of them students, Kenya announced the grand plan aimed at limiting the movement of Al Shabaab militants across the porous border.

The announcement received mixed reactions. A blend of relief and excitement was evident on many faces because the Somalia-based terror group, had killed and maimed many lives on Kenyan soil.

The wall was to have two parallel concrete fences of heavy mesh and razor wires running in between them and a three meter deep trench on the Kenyan side was to run along the fence, and next to it a road to be used by security personnel during patrol.

However, by April 2019, the project was soon marred in controversy as instead of the proposed 2-foot wall, wire fencing was all that could be seen.

According to a recent parliamentary report Ksh3.4 billion was already used up, with less than 30 km covered to date.

National Youth Service (NYS) staff abandoned the works citing lack of payment by the government and immediately the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) was engaged.

Since 2015, both Kenyan and Somali nationals along the border have resisted the idea.

In March 2018, Kenya suspended the construction of the controversial security wall at the Mandera-Somalia border to quell tensions.

Mandera Governor Ali Roba said the decision came after a consultative meeting with the Somali team led by Gedo Governor Mohammed Mahamud.

"We have agreed to temporarily halt the construction and border securitisation pending the fate of about 64 houses that lie directly on the border," Governor Roba stated at the time.



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