The entry of Kenya Defence Forces into Somalia on October 15, opened a new front in the country’s efforts to secure its people.Within days of their offensive, the highly mechanised units had claimed victory over a number of Al-Shabaab strongholds with a key target being the port of Kismayu.Al-Shabaab staged isolated attacks in Nairobi and the north eastern regions, which were interpreted as attempts to retaliate against the incursion. These attacks have exacerbated security concerns among Kenyans.Of particular concern have been the two grenade attacks in Nairobi and two attacks in north eastern region, which resulted in fatalities.Even with the police cautioning the public against some spots in the city, there is no knowing where the enemy will strike next. This will certainly disrupt the economy and social life.
Another concern is the nature of the enemy. Al-Shabaab has been known to be composed of ethnic Somali recruits, especially from Somalia itself.But the confession of an attacker as having hailed from western Kenya and his accomplices suspected to be from central Kenya complicates the situation.This implies that the enemy could be more vicious inside the country than outside it.No doubt, Kenya’s involvement in an external military campaign comes as a surprise to many. And as its codename — “Operation Linda Nchi” — suggests, the entire exercise was not supposed to be an external affair but an internal one.Little wonder that the battle-hardened militants have scoffed at the country as a novice in war, which has only been involved in the “soft” peacekeeping assignments.
Since independence, the north-eastern region has posed a security nightmare beginning with the Shifta War of the 1960s, which was triggered by a secessionist movement.In effect, the area has been perpetually a security operation zone necessitating a special administration arrangement.However, with recent political developments, including the promulgation of a new Constitution, the region is experiencing a rebirth in development opportunities.For this to succeed, adequate security must be guaranteed by flushing out potential sources of terror. Involving the Kenya Defence Forces to fight an enemy that has no face is a major concern. Ideally, the operation would have been left to the internal security organs that include the police, AP and the Immigration Department to ward off any unwanted elements within the borders...READ MORE