Al-shabab the Somalia based militia, claimed
responsibility for Thursday’s attack that
security officials say killed 142 students, three
police officers and three soldiers, and injured
The lapse in security and the time lag between
the alert and deployment puts into question
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Thursday
statement which called for calm throughout
“I also assure the nation that my government
has undertaken appropriate deployment to the
affected area, and is fully seized of the
situation,” he said.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka
reportedly defended the security forces, saying
that their response was “not as bad as
The public is visibly frustrated, says Adam
Hussein Adam, an independent analyst in
Nairobi who spoke to RFI via telephone.
However, moving from the capital to the outer
edges of north-eastern Kenya takes a lot of
planning, he said.
“To deploy anyone from Nairobi to that area
requires a lot of logistical thinking and
planning, because Garissa is not a place
where you just go,” says Adam. “Although
there is a road from Nairobi all the way to
Garissa … it is not even safe to go by road.”
The perception of north-eastern Kenya also
hampers any swift deployment there. “This is
something that has been there since
independence, and we continue to view that
place [Garissa] as an outlier, and therefore we
do not deploy enough state authorities until
we have a problem like now we have,” he
Adam said that the logistics of getting to
Garissa in order to deal with terrorists show
the wide gaps in police deployment in Kenya,
especially because Garissa has been
considered an undesirable area for police to
“That area was more a punishment zone
whereby those who commit mistakes in
whatever detachment, they would be referred
there,” he says. “Most of the government
officers who would go there would not go
there with their families. Most of them would
just be on their own, and working from there
and only coming back to Nairobi.”
The lack of infrastructure also makes Garissa
more of a hardship setting, he adds. “So when
a problem like this happens, people will find
out that it is a nightmare — people begin
thinking how to quickly move to that place,
how to quickly go there.”
AL-SHEBAB – WHO ARE THEY?
Meanwhile, Kenyatta defied a High Court
ruling Thursday when he ordered 10,000 police
recruits to report for training.
The recruitment had been stopped by court
order because of alleged irregularities. Using
the Garissa tragedy to defy Kenyan law
doesn’t make sense, says Adam.
“Unfortunately, every time we recruit, we do
not give enough to such areas that are
marginalised like the northern part of Kenya,
like Garissa and Mandera. We still have very
few [police] compared to other parts of the
country,” he says.
“Therefore, I don’t think it is right to say that
Garissa didn’t have enough security because
we did not recruit,” he adds.
As part of an effort to show Garissa residents
that the security problem had been taken care
of, security forces displayed the bodies of the
four attackers who were killed. In Garissa, RFI
spoke to Enoch, a teacher who came to see
the bodies. He had heard the attack and
wanted to view for himself that the assailants
had been killed.
“We’ve not been seeing a lot of things
happening, so we wanted to really confirm that
these people have been killed. You know, like
the Westgate incident, we are really not sure
whether they killed those people. So as of for
now, we are able to define that these people
were killed,” says Enoch.
It was important for him to see their bodies
with his own eyes. “It is the Kenyan way. With
the Kenyan government, we always doubt,” he
In Garissa, RFI observed this past weekend
that there was no security. Colonel Kamali,
the military detachment, said that their work
was done in Garissa.
“So far we’ve brought everything into
normalcy. So, nothing else. We are back to
our camp, the police are outside, it’s the work
of the police,” says Colonel Kamali.
Analysts say security will remain an issue in
Garissa until infrastructure or a larger police
presence becomes a permanent part of the