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Big boost for security, trade as new entry point opened

By Cyrus Ombati | October 13th 2020
Nairobi Regional Commissioner (RC) Wilson Njega during a press conference in Nairobi, on May 26, 2020. [David Njaaga,Standard]

A third field office has been opened at the border of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia in Dollo Ado town to check human trafficking, terrorism and smuggling.

The office, which was opened on Wednesday last week, is part of a regional strategy that began in 2019 to boost peace and security, with two more already opened in Moyale and another in Omo, Turkana County.

The construction of the office was funded by the European Union and United Nations under the Joint Cross Border Project.

According to the UNDP, the office will help create more stable and conducive peace and development conditions in the borderland areas of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Last month, Kenya revealed it had sealed illegal routes in Moyale after the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) dug trenches and filled them with a razor wire to tame smuggling.

Areas, where the trenches were dug, are used by smugglers to pass contraband goods and drugs, and for human trafficking, officials said.

Trenches stretching more than 10 kilometres have been dug in Sessi, Kore, Foundation and Biashara along the border.

“The long-term goal is to safeguard our borders by continuously identifying and sealing off of all illegal channels to enable legitimate cross-border trade,” Wilson Njenga, the Marsabit County Secretary Internal Security, said.

Major concern

The sealed routes had been a major concern for security organs and border personnel at the Moyale One Stop Border Post (OSBP), as they were conduits for terror activities.

The illegal channels also enabled the proliferation of small arms and light weapons into Kenya and endangered wildlife through trade in game meat and trophies.

Kenya shares an 800-kilometre border with Ethiopia to the north.

The Moyale OSBP – constructed in 2017 – is the only gazetted point of entry along this border.

There are considerations to extend the trenches for a further 50km on either side of the point of entry to curb the emergence of other routes.

The decision to seal off the illegal routes was made by Border Control and Operations Coordination Committee chaired by Interior PS Karanja Kibicho.

The committee has representatives of State agencies such as Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Coast Guard Service, Kenya Airports Authority, National Intelligence Service and National Counter Terrorism Centre.

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