The government has finalized plans to recruit additional Kenya Police Reservists to be posted at 60 border points along the Kenya/Somalia border.
Speaking to KNA in his office Tuesday, North Eastern regional Coordinator, Mohamed Birik said the reservists will boost security along the porous border that the Somali based Al-Shabaab terror group has been using to make incursions into the country.
“The reservists will greatly boost the strength of our security officers, patrolling the porous border. They will closely work with the chiefs and their assistants on daily engagements,” Birik said.
“Majority of those to be recruited are retired security officers who left the service with good track records. We shall thoroughly vet them,” he added.
He said these are among several measures the government wants to put in place to secure the border and stop attacks perpetuated by the Al-Shabaab,” he added.
Birik urged the residents to continue volunteering information on suspicious characters within their midst.
“We are not out of the woods yet. More need to be done. I thank the people of this region for the support they have given to us on maintaining security of which we could not have made the gains we are proud of today,” he said.
Birik declined to reveal the number to be recruited for security reasons.
And talking separately to KNA on phone, MP Sophia Abdi (Ijara) and elder Dubat Amey hailed the move, saying it will bolster security in the region that still remains shaky.
Sophia, whose part of constituency borders Somalia said the residents understand the important role played by KPRs in maintaining security.
“KPRs know and understand the terrain of their respective areas. They have knowledge of the people. They can easily detect and know an enemy because they mingle and interact with the communities,” Sophia said.
She said the impact of the few officers already on the ground was being felt by the locals, since they have thwarted several attacks that would have led to casualties.
Sophia challenged the government to equip the reservists, so that they can match the militants who most of the time use sophisticated weapons.
“Recruiting them is one thing and equipping them is another altogether. We would not wish to see a situation where the militants attack our territory and overpower our officers because they are ill-equipped,” she noted.
Dubat on his part called for thorough vetting of the KPRs officers saying that chances to prevent Al-Shabaab sympathizers finding their way to the country lies in the unit.
“The exercise might prove counterproductive if it is not carried out well. We might end up having individuals who work with the militants by leaking crucial information whom we think they are ours,” Amey said.
In 2017, Mandera governor, Ali Roba urged the state to move with speed and recruit more KPR officers, saying that they had played an important role in suppressing the Al-Shabaab threats especially along the border.