Mandera still unstable after SNA-Jubaland forces' clash, says Governor Ali Roba
MANDERA, Kenya - Although businesses have reopened, the security situation remains fluid in Mandera, Governor Ali Roba said, a week after clashes between Somali forces in the neighboring Balad-Hawo.
Somali National Army [SNA] troops exchanged gunfire with regional Jubaland forces a week ago, leaving 12 people injured and one dead, officials said.
The intense clashes, which were precipitated by unending squabbles between FGS and federal states, spilled over the Kenyan border, leading to the closure of businesses, schools and even health centers.
During the clashes, Jubaland forces took refuge in Mandera in KDF bases, a move that temporarily ignited a cross-border crisis between Kenya and Somalia.
While it's evident that most businesses have resumed after Jubaland forces moved at least 7 kilometers into Somalia, anxiety crippled normal operations within Mandera town, Governor Ali Roba said.
In response to lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi on Twitter on Wednesday, Roba noted "SC the situation is still unstable. Jubaland forces are still holed up within Mandera town."
On Tuesday, he added, there were gunfire exchanges between the two warring parties although no casualties were reported. There were also reports of more Jubaland troops crossing into Mandera.
"Last night there were gunshots along the border believed to be from Abdirashid Janan forces," he said. "Today the public has reported two lorries carrying Janan troops heading to Mandera along B9/A13 Road."
Janan, a Jubaland minister being sought for "serious crimes" by Somalia authorities, is said to have taken refuge in Mandera, days after escaping from a detention camp in Mogadishu.
But the minister has often denied claims of "genocide" in Gedo, accusing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of "antagonizing me for supporting Ahmed Madobe".
Madobe, who is the Jubaland leader and a close ally to Kenya in the fight against Al-Shabaab, has fallen out with the federal government, accusing them of others, "interfering with territorial integrity" of the state.
Council of Governors chairman Governor Wycliffe Oparanya asked the Kenyan government to take charge of the security along the border and restore normalcy.
"The National Government is mandated to ensure Kenyan lives are protected and our borders remain safe and impregnable to attacks as what has been witnessed today," he said in a press statement.
Already, there has been substantive progress in quelling the chaos, following a phone call between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
Somalia's Foreign Affairs minister Isse Awad visited Nairobi on Wednesday for bilateral discussions. Farmajo had also accepted an invitation to visit Nairobi following a request by Mr. Kenyatta.
International partners have warned about the presence of SNA troops along the border, arguing that "it paves way for Al-Shabaab resurgence" in the war-torn nation.
Jubaland forces have played a critical role in flushing out the militants thus the unconditional support by KDF. The region is used by Kenya as a buffer zone in the Al-Shabaab war.
Uhuru also dispatched a delegation to Ethiopia which met Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday. ENDF has been accused in recent weeks by Jubaland of "aiding" FGS to consolidate sections of Gedo.