Mandera attack shows deep fractures in wobbly national security

12 people were killed in Mandera following an attack at a guesthouse orchestrated by militant Islamist group Al-Shabaab. 10 of the victims were university students and actors who were in the town to hold plays for students sitting for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations. The attack that occurred at the Bisharo Guest House in the early hours of Tuesday has been condemned by the President saying, “Kenyans will not be divided in religious lines.”

According to local reports, ‘the attackers used improvised explosive devices to break the metallic doors at the lodge before shooting the 12 dead in their rooms.’ Although the area of the country is plagued with insecurity Governors from the North Eastern region have expressed their frustration with the government’s slow action despite having the resources to quell such incidents. “Today am deeply disappointed because I have more than enough security personnel in hand but we still are experiencing frequent attacks by the Al-Shabaab,” Ali Roba, Mandera County Governor said. Which does put some perspective in the situation.

Earlier in the month Al-Shabaab had claimed responsibility for the killing of 6 Christians and injury of 25 other people in the same town of Mandera. Reports to the BBC state that the group wanted non-Muslims to leave what it regarded as Muslim areas, “This must have been planned over a long period… It was executed with a lot efficiency,” Mr Shiswa said in a BBC interview.

If tensions were not already high following the attack, the government confessed to having intelligence of the attack before it happened. This hesitation to act that has been shown by the government numerous times paints a rather deplorable picture of the state of security not just in the North East but all over the country. Due to the close proximity of the region to a conflict-ridden Somalia when news of a terrorist incident hits the headlines it becomes the norm.

Actors in the industry stand with the Pearls Quality Edutainment troupe that lost its members in the attack releasing a statement, “As a Society, we are saddened by the threat of terrorism on the custodians of our culture and heritage and urge both the local and national governments to stem this menace and keep our country safe. Our condolences go out to families of the 10 actors who were in the area for set book performances in the schools who have been confirmed dead. We pray for speedy recover for those injured in the attack.” We as Kenyans can only hope for a swift resolution to this problem.

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