Secure all police stations, shift spying tactics, MPs urge state
House committee wants Interior ministry to finance construction of perimeter walls and provide modern surveillance equipment to protect all police stations
The National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security wants the government to secure all police stations in the country to avert terror, especially at the Coast.
Committee members said Coast is the tourism hub and must be protect it if the industry is to thrive. They spoke in Mombasa on Tuesday. On Sunday, the Mombasa Central Police Station was attacked by three women. This is the second attack on a police station in two months. The other was in Kapenguria, West Pokot, where a gunman opened fire at police officers, killing at least six officers.
They said on Tuesday in Mombasa such cases prompt countries to issue travel advisories, which cause Kenya lose revenue from tourism. The MPs want the Interior ministry to release funds to build perimeter walls around all police stations and provide modern surveillance equipment. They also want desk officers at the stations armed at all times to enable them to respond adequately to danger.
Kandara MP Alice Wahome said infiltration of refugee camps is one of the committee’s main concerns. She said women are increasingly being used as suicide bombers, a worrying trend because they are least suspected of being able to carry out terror attacks.
The committee is working on the Refugees (Amendment) Bill to regulate management of all refugee camps. The aim is to avoid infiltration by terrorists. “We want the country to be in charge of the office of the commissioner for refugees,” Wahome said.
The running of the refugee camps and managing the refugees’ affairs have been left to UN agencies. “We feel this is not right. This is the point of entry by foreigners. You cannot be sure who is coming into this country,” Wahome said.
The MPs want the anti-terrorism and radicalisation campaign to focus on women. They said women have become soft targets for extremists. The legislators said the recent attack indicates terror keeps mutating and intelligence gathering must change too.
“You can only fight terror through a robust intelligence system. We are dealing with a monster that mutates. They now use females. The next time you might hear another story,” chair Asman Kamama said. “Some refugees are misused to cause harm in the country,” Wahome said. The Mombasa attackers had been hiding among Kibokoni refugees. At least two refugees were arrested and are helping police in investigations.
Armed policemen walk outside the Mombasa Central Police Station after an attack last Sunday