Uhuru holds secret security meetings after Al-Shabaab attacks
NAIROBI, Kenya - The President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta has secretly held several security meetings following escalating Al-Shabaab attacks, it has emerged.
For the last two weeks, Kenyatta has been working from Mombasa State House where he took a routine Christmas break.
But the state of security has reportedly concerned the president, following frequent Al-Shabaab raids on Kenyan territory, the Standard reported.
Among those who have held private talks with the president are Interior CS Fred Matiang'i, Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji and DCI George Kinoti.
Meetings mostly taking place at night
ICT minister Joe Mucheru and his Transport counterpart James Macharia, have also visited the President at the coast.
For instance, Dr. Matiang'i and Mucheru were in State House on Sunday, where they discussed matters security with the president.
“The two CSs arrived early today and they are now at State House with the president,” an intelligence official told The Standard.
Last week, the source said, Dr. Matiang'i held another meeting with Uhuru and several security officials from the coastal strip.
Uhuru concerned with Naval Base attack
Al-Shabaab raid at US Naval Base in Lamu seems to have caused panic within the government given that it exposes weak systems in the country.
Three US citizens among them a serviceman were killed besides the destruction of sophisticated military equipment.
“They came to discuss the attacks in Lamu and Garissa,” an official who asked not to be named said.
There are claims the attackers who raided the US base arrived in Kenya from Southern Somalia, through Kiunga in Lamu, in groups from early December last year.
Intelligence officials reportedly relayed information to all military stations in Lamu that the terrorists were armed with night vision equipment seized from the 2016 attack on a Kenya Defence Forces camp in El Adde, Somalia.
The US beefs up security in Kenya
General Stephen Townsend, the Commander of US Africa Command, said more troops had been deployed to Kenya following the attack.
To ascertain the truth behind the attack, he added in a statement, top military officials from the Command are currently visiting the country.
He said: "Al-Shabaab thrives on imagination and propaganda. We cannot allow them to destabilize peace and stability in East Africa."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper also said, "We shall ensure the Al-Shabaab militants who attacked Lamu Naval Base are brought to justice."
The US, a key partner of Kenya in Al-Shabaab war, did not, however, give elaborate plans on how it plans to revenge against Al-Shabaab militants.
Already, Kenya has heightened security in buildings associated with the US and Israel for fear of more delicate Al-Shabaab raids.
The UK travel advisory concerns
But its the possibility of sabotaging tourism activities and several construction projects which could have worried the president.
Through the Foreign Commonwealth Office, the United Kingdom on Saturday issued a travel advisory against her citizens a measure that could affect Kenya's tourism sector.
Chinese contractors also working on the multinational Lamu port evacuated the site following the raid at US Naval Base, local media reported.
Lamu port, which is scheduled to be opened in the coming months, is set to serve Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda among other countries.
Series of Al-Shabaab raids
In the last month, six people have also been abducted by the militants in Wajir and Garissa, raising questions about the country's security situation.
Two more incidents have seen commuter buses attacked in Lamu and Wajir, leading to unprecedented deaths of 15 people.
Police stations have not been spared either. In the last one week, security forces have foiled attacks at Soretho in Garissa and Olla AP post.
Al-Shabaab said in a statement that "Kenya will have sleepless nights because we shall continue attacking US interests".
While Kenya has donated around 2,600 troops to the war-torn nation, the US has 500 troops who are involved in logistical support within Somalia.