News / Africa

    Kenyan Police Boost Effort Against Al-Shabab

    FILE - Kenyan policemen hold their position while patrolling the Kenya-Somalia border near the town of Mandera, Feb. 6, 2015.
    FILE - Kenyan policemen hold their position while patrolling the Kenya-Somalia border near the town of Mandera, Feb. 6, 2015.

    Kenyan police have received 30 armored personnel carriers to be used in areas of the country worst hit by terrorism. Security analysts say that is a good step, but Kenya needs to do more to win the war against al-Shabab.

    In an effort to protect and equip police officers, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta authorized 30 armored personnel carriers to be deployed to the northeastern and coastal regions to fight militants crossing into the country.

    The president has said he expects police to be able to work without the help of the military and other security sectors.

    Analyst Yan St. Pierre, who runs the Berlin-based security firm MOSECON, said Kenya has realized it is fighting a war inside its territory and all security sectors needed to be involved and equipped to counter the threat.

    “It is a very good sign, I think, President Kenyatta and Kenyan government finally understanding that fighting a terrorist group like al-Shabab requires all parties be involved and not just any troops or military. It is a good sign the government is willing to invest more resources into other security outlets,” he said.

    Security analyst Andrew Franklin questioned the training for officers using such vehicles.

    “If they are police in one of these armored personnel carriers and run over landmine or landmine detonated under it or improvised explosives devices are set off, perhaps by people waiting to ambush these particular vehicles, that officers inside will initially survive the explosions, how will they react after the explosion? That is, trying to get out of a damaged vehicle in an ambush. I do not think the police will make it,” he said.

    Kenya's Interior Ministry spokesman, Mwenda Njoka, disagreed. He said some officers were trained before the APC's were delivered.

    “These are new challenges we have not had before, but the more you get a new challenge the more you deal with it. When a new challenge comes, at first you do not react the way you should, you learn from it and ensure that next time you face similar problems you are ready and prepared,” he said.

    Mwenda said paramilitary police units would use the carriers, not regular police. Al-Shabab has targeted security officers and civilians in Kenya.

    Kenyan security forces have been criticized for a slow response in rescuing hostages during the Garissa University College attack last year and during the Westgate shopping mall siege in 2013. Some officers said they did not know which agency was in charge during those operations.

    St. Pierre said with the increased threat from al-Shabab, Kenya needed to strengthen its command structure.

    “How is the chain of command set up? Now that needs to be defined very clearly and once that is defined, then the training needs to take place. It cannot be just on paper. Security forces need to understand that as soon as something happens this is how it works and how they can work together,” he said.

    Kenya sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to fight al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked group that has vowed to attack Kenya as long as its forces are still based in Somalia.

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    This forum has been closed.
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora