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GSU deployed in Northern Eastern to beef up security

By | June 30th 2009

By Boniface Ongeri and Cyrus Ombati

The dreaded General Service Unit (GSU) has been deployed in parts of North Eastern Province.

The move has caused anxiety among residents in the areas affected.

On Monday, GSU Commandant Mathew Iteere confirmed the deployment of the officers saying they were there to beef up security.

"The deployment is to ensure the locals are safe. It is a normal security operation and let no one panic," he said on the phone.

The officers were deployed along the tension filled Kenya-Somali border to quell threats from Somali’s Al Shabaab militia, sources said.

They will back up several troops from the Kenya Army already patrolling the area for months.

In a show of might, lorries loaded with GSU officers crisscrossed the streets of Garissa at the weekend. They camped at a local military camp for a night before heading to the border some 170km east of the town.

We could not be able to independently establish the officers’ mission but there were reports they have been deployed at the main border and roads.

"They will help to ensure criminals do not enter the country. They will back the army and other security agencies there," said a highly placed source.

This is the first time the GSU have been deployed in the region since the 1984 Wagalla massacre in which they were accused of killing hundreds, possibly thousands of people.

They were withdrawn after several local leaders demanded so.

Garissa town is also awash with about tens of new recruits drawn from the regular and administration police who graduated in the recently.

Garissa OCPD Paul Mukoma said they are likely to be deployed to the border to tackle possible insurgency as their first assignment.

Security has been beefed up in the province and in Coast Province amid reports some elements of the Al Shabaab may have sneaked into the country.

The main border is officially closed and troops operating there are not allowing visitors.

Meanwhile, in Nairobi, contingents of police are monitoring movement of a number of Somali leaders in the city.

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