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GARISSA IS A PUNISHMENT ZONE…..THERE ARE NO ENOUGH POLICE

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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

79. Four of the attackers were also killed.

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

the country.

“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

Westgate.”

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

adds.

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

live.

“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

says.

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

town.

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