Kenya: Kindiki, Regional Peers Commit Joint Efforts to Secure the Mandera Triangle

Nairobi — Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia have launched a joint borderlands project to promote peace and stability and strengthen cross-border cooperation among the three neighboring states.

The project funded by the United Kingdom was unveiled in Mandera on Thursday.

Its aim is to address challenges facing the three states, including violent extremism, illicit trade, illegal immigration, trafficking (in persons, narcotics, and weapons), and other security threats along their shared borders.

The project is part of the Kenya-UK Security Compact signed on Wednesday by the Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and UK Security Minister Tom Tugendhat.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua presided over the launch, alongside UK High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott.

CS Kindiki and Interior PS Raymond Omollo hosted high-level delegations led by Security Ministers from Ethiopia and Somalia.

Commenting on the project, Kindiki said that the joint venture would play a critical role in promoting regional peace, bolstering trade, and building resilience for the border communities.

“I am convinced beyond doubt that this borderlands project will go a long way in improving stability, peace, resilience, and empowerment of communities for our countries,” Kindiki said.

He stated that challenges facing the border counties are extremely complex and sensitive, emphasizing the need for collaboration within the region.

Coordinated approach

The Interior CS had said the project would only proceed subject to the three countries sitting down together with the UK to agree on an action plan to ensure that they work together and leave no detail unattended “because of the complexities and sensitivities of security matters in these parts of the world.”

“In principle, what we are presiding over today is the general project initiative, but there is some work to be done, maybe in the next two weeks or so, to be able to agree on an action plan that carries everybody along,” he said.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua termed the project a strategic investment for Kenya and the Horn of Africa, a region whose “people have always felt marginalized and neglected.”

Gachagua added that the initiative is a pragmatic and sustainable approach to the socio-economic challenges the region has grappled with for decades.