Nairobi, Sep 22 — Kenyan authorities have intensified security across the country, especially along its borders with Somalia, as the operation to rescue the last group of hostages in a Nairobi mall continued for the second day Sunday, officials said.
Police commanders in the country’s major cities and towns confirmed Sunday that security agencies have sealed off border points and all entry points amid the standoff between militants and security forces at the popular Westgate shopping mall since Saturday in Nairobi, Xinhua reported.
Police and government officials have now declared the Westgate shooting and grenade attack as a terror strike, in which 59 people have been killed so far, including some close family members of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In the coastal city of Mombasa, authorities said security around the tourist resort city and its environs has been placed on a high alert.
“Security is very tight. Even though I am in Nairobi for official duties, I have issued instructions to my officers to ensure that all is well in Mombasa and its environs,” Mombasa police commander Joseph Kitur told Xinhua by telephone Sunday.
He said the police officials have stepped up patrols to ensure peace and calm prevail in all the six districts, especially the areas bordering Somalia.
“Security patrols would continue until we are assured that everything is fine. All districts are under surveillance of security agencies to ensure no attack of whatever magnitude takes place there,” Kitur said.
Police in Garissa, which shares the border with Somalia, said they have also intensified security at high value targets in the town.
Speaking to Xinhua on phone, Garissa county police commander Charles Kinyua said security has been beefed up in all the 36 churches in the township.
He also said that the Tana bridge which links the region with the rest of the county was also been manned by paramilitary personnel round the clock.
“We have also put on high alert all our security agencies along the 1,200-km Kenya-Somalia border with the Rapid Deployment Units at Amuma, Liboi and Holugho who are ready to mobilise when need be,” said Kinyua.