Jubaland forces still holed up in Mandera – Roba

Mandera Governor Ali Roba

County putting pressure on government to expel foreign soldiers

Roba claimed there were gunshots along the border believed to be from forces allied to Janan. Hundreds of residents have since fled their homes to areas fa from the border Mandera Governor Ali Roba has said the county is still unstable and Jubaland security forces are still holed up in the county. He spoke on Monday as Kenya and Somalia continue efforts to defuse the tensions in the region. Roba said Jubaland security forces remain in Mandera, almost two weeks after pictures emerged of the heavily armed men roaming within the town inn pick-up trucks.

Fighting at the common border began a fortnight ago after Somalia accused Nairobi of harbouring fugitive Jubaland Security Minister Abdirashid Hassan Abdinur, also known as Abdirashid Janan. Roba claimed there were gunshots along the border believed to be from forces allied to Janan.

“The public has reported two lorries carrying Janan troops heading to Mandera along B9/A13 Road,” he stated on his Twitter account. Communications director David Ohito told the Star the county is still pressuring the government to expel the foreign soldiers. “Jubaland security forces are still around. The county is doing everything toensure these soldiers cross back to their home country,” he said.

Kenyans on social media have been advising Roba to move to court to compel the government to expel the foreign forces.“Governor Ali Roba and the people of Mandera should urgently move to the High Court for orders to compel the expulsion of the foreigners,” a social media user said. Hundreds of residents have fled their homes to areas far from the border where the Somali National Army and Jubaland forces had clashed earlier.

The security situation along the border has deteriorated despite President Uhuru Kenyatta’s warning to Somalia against violating Kenya’s territorial integrity. Last month, the Somali National Army deployed heavily along the Kenyan border and took over the Jubaland towns of Beled-Hao and Doloow. Uhuru said the Somali National Army had violated the country’s sovereignty by attacking Jubaland forces from Kenyan soil.

The European Union has asked Kenya and Ethiopia to organise a security meeting to ease tensions. Kenya Defence Forces and Ethiopian troops under Amisom are in charge of Jubaland where Kenya supports the regional government headed by Sheikh Madobe. Uhuru sent a security team led by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to Somalia for discussions on cross-border issues with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

The EU praised President Kenyatta’s move to defuse tensions. The EU said the fighting has diverted assets and attention from military operations against al Shabaab militants in Lower and Middle Shabelle. On Wednesday last week, a suspected Shabaab attack in Mandera county left two people dead.

Roba reacted by recalling all county staff who had been asked to stay home following rising tensions. Many staffers may now have to work from home because of the coronavirus situation.

Source: The Star, Kenya