When the Westgate Mall was attacked in 2013, Kenyans thought and some honestly believed that this would be the last time. Then the attack in Mpeketoni happened and more innocent civilian blood was spilled. Now the Al-Shaabab militants have just attacked a university in the county of Garissa with the chilling promise that “as long as Kenya’s military is in Somalia, It will be paid with its citizen’s blood.” As Kenyans we are tired of having to spend the weekend identifying family members remains at the morgue, or worse having to spend it worrying because we don’t know their fate. This has become the reality, and truthfully enough is enough.
Does this mean that we want out government to pull troops out of Somalia? No of course not. This is not an option. They have managed to hit us where it hurts most, at a university full of potential doctors, teachers, and entrepreneurs who could have made a real difference in the country; imagine what they could have done without Kenyan troops in Somalia?? The problem here is not that the Kenyan military is fighting Al-Shaabab on their own soil; the problem is how the Kenyan police and border patrol officers are dealing with the situation. There are numerous points across the Kenya-Somalia that are completely unprotected, which makes it easy for the terrorists to come and go as they wish. When Kenyans hear about situations such as these it only induces feelings of anger against the government. How can they allow our borders remain porous knowing that Al-Shaabab is out there? Secondly there is the way they handle the situation back at home. Usually what happens is police crackdown on areas that are heavily Somali populated which only adds fuel to the fire. The police go in guns blazing, shoot first and ask questions later, which only alienates the same people that could help them stop the problem.
It is a story as old as when Kenya went into Somalia for the first time back in 2011, it is a story that Kenya’s are tired of hearing. We want more than tough words from our officials. We want real action, we want our borders properly secured and we do not want to have to be afraid of the police. If not for us, then for at least all those that lost their lives at Garissa University, at Westgate, Mpeketoni and all other massacres that have happened within in the last four years.