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Monday, July 15, 2024

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    Kenya postpones reopening its border with Somalia.

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    Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki indicated that the planned staggered reopening of border checkpoints in Mandera, Lamu, and Garissa could not take place as planned in May.

    The decision comes after five civilians and eight police officers were killed in separate events near the border last month, which were blamed on the al-Qaeda-affiliated militia Shabab.

    “The government will postpone the scheduled reopening of border points between Kenya and Somalia until we have conclusively addressed the recent spate of terrorist attacks and cross-border crimes,” Kindiki stated during a visit to the Dadaab refugee camp in far eastern Kenya, close to Somalia.

    The border was formally closed in October 2011 as a result of attacks by Al-Shabaab, which has been fighting the federal government in Mogadishu for more than 15 years.

    During meetings between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somali counterpart Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in July 2022, the two nations stated their desire to reopen the border, however this never happened.

    However, on May 15, after a high-level ministerial conference in Nairobi, authorities from both nations decided to gradually restore three border crossings.

    Mandera was anticipated to reopen 30 days after the declaration, followed by Garissa 60 days later and Lamu 90 days later.

    However, on June 13, eight Kenyan police officers were murdered when their truck collided with an improvised explosive device in Garissa. On June 24, five citizens had their throats cut in Lamu, near the Somali border, in an incident claimed by Al-Shabaab; some were decapitated.

    Al-Shabaab is battling the federal government of Somalia, which is backed by the international community, in order to impose Islamic law in the Horn of Africa country.

    Since its military intervention in southern Somalia in 2011 and participation in the African Union force in Somalia (Amisom, renamed Atmis) established in 2012 to combat the insurgency, neighbouring Kenya has been targeted by this organisation, which also recruits among local youth.

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