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    Kenya banks on camels to stop IED killings on Somalia border

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    by CYRUS OMBATI
    Chief Crime Reporter
    Wednesday July 20, 2022

    For the past decade, the menace of attacks using Improvised Explosive Devices in some parts of the country has been devastating.

    Official counts show Kenya has lost more than 100 security officials and two times more civilians to IEDs set on the roads.

    And it is not clear how long it would take to address the menace for now with a long porous border on the Kenya-Somalia border and ongoing insecurity in the neighbouring country.

    With the ongoing war in Ukraine, officials fear the weapons being dropped there, including bombs, may find their way to Somalia and Kenya.

    As part of efforts to address insecurity in the area, for the past three years, the process of identifying and training dozens of camels has been ongoing in various environments in the country.

    The aim was to harden and adapt them to various scenarios.

    Up to 200 camels have been identified, treated and trained to be mission-ready.

    The animals were among others trained to detect explosives far away and alert the riders.

    And their prowess was showcased in Isiolo county on July 14, when President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the Camel Calvary Team, which is a new breed in the police animals.

    The team has been trained in various places, including low and high altitudes and dry ones, to help them adapt to any conditions.

    The places included Cherengany Hills, Mombasa, Mandera, Isiolo, Taita Taveta and Naivasha, officials said.

    Just like police dogs and horses, the camels will now be regarded as a special breed and be given names, ranks and attention.

    “In the service, police dogs are given even ranks. This will happen in this case of the camels as part of efforts of getting the best out of them,” said an official aware of the plans.

     

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