Kenya accused of failing to act on Al Shabaab attacks
Leaders in Mandera have accused the government of failing to act on the destruction of communication masts by suspected terrorists and said there is a plan to cut off the region from the country.
“No action has been taken after attacks on four masts at Damasa, Dabacity, Kutulo and Chabi Bar in Mandera North,” Governor Ali Roba said.
“I do not understand how, after the first attack, more security was not provided,” he said at a press conference in Mandera Town on Wednesday.
The governor said Al-Shabaab planned to isolate the region from the rest of the country.
“When they start taking over the county, it will be days before anybody knows,” he said.
Mr Roba said the group had crippled the education sector by targeting non-local teachers.
The health sector has also not been spared, with non-local medical personnel leaving after their colleagues were killed.
Mandera South MP Mohamed Huka called for the deployment of more police reservists.
“If the government does not take action, it will be Al-Shabaab who will be campaigning in Mandera, not Jubilee,” he said.
On Tuesday, Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore said the company is suffering huge losses due to vandalism of masts in northern Kenya.
Mr Collymore said six telecommunication masts have been destroyed in different parts of Mandera, Garissa and other counties on the Kenya-Somalia border in terrorist attacks in the last few months.
On Monday night, suspected Al-Shabaab terrorists destroyed Safaricom and Orange telecommunication masts in Kotulo, Mandera County.
Earlier on Monday morning, suspected Al-Shabaab militants destroyed a Safaricom mast at Dabacity in Elwak.
In June, another mast was destroyed at Damasa. The damage forced security officers to use Hormud, a Somalia communication network.
“It is a huge cost and risk in running these networks because a single cell phone tower can cost $250 million. But most importantly, when they are destroyed, there is loss of communication with the locals and that is a big deal,” Mr Collymore said.
He spoke in Meru during a tour of the Meru Dairy Cooperative Society milk factory.
The CEO said there has been a lot of pressure to build the communication masts in the most marginalised and insecure parts of the country.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is the security pressure we come across.
“It makes it very challenging to ensure our customers in these areas continue to use communication.
“We work with security agencies to help restore services because of the insecurity. We are mindful of the challenges they face,” he said.