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 Star (Kenya) - - Counties - BRIAN OTIENO @Yo­bramos4

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.

/REUTERS

Armed po­lice­men walk out­side the Mom­basa Cen­tral Po­lice Sta­tion after an at­tack last Sun­day

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