The residents of five counties in northern Kenya have been asked to coordinate with security personnel to tame life-threatening acts of terrorism in the region.
The regional commissioner, James Kianda, said members of the public have a greater mandate to share information with the police and report all suspected assailants to the authorities for appropriate action.
Kianda said for a region to be completely secure and devoid of any attacks, there must be cooperation between the security teams and wananchi.
The RC spoke in his Garissa office when he laid out his plans for the region after taking over the office from his predecessor, Nicholas Ndalana.
His sentiments follow the recent spate of terror attacks in Mandera and Wajir counties that left 11 people dead and dozens injured.
Kianda said information sharing is key in deterring and taming any unexpected attacks.
He said taming the attacks would stop the loss of more lives and provide a good environment for regional development.
On January 12, Kianda replaced Ndalana, who was moved to the Office of the President in Nairobi.
He emphasised the need to cut the relationship with criminals “because we have nothing to gain by engaging with them but stand to lose.”
We want the public to understand that intelligence is very important. Wherever these attacks are happening, there must be a local component.
“There must be a herder there who is keeping animals, somebody who is crossing from one village to another or someone driving there,” Kianda said.
He urged the public to open up and provide information.
“Let them trust us as security agents. We will treat the information with confidence and act promptly,” he added.
The RC said where there is mistrust between the public and the police, information is concealed.
He said replacing public properties destroyed during the attacks robs the taxpayers of the resources meant for development.
On illegal immigrants, Kianda said security officers in the region have arrested over 80 people who were illegally in the country.
“We are encouraging our officers, especially in Wajir, where more cases have been reported, to continue with that work,” he said.
The RC also said they would have zero tolerance for drugs and contraband goods. Under
no circumstances are we going to tolerate any illegal or non-custom goods. It is something I have declared to the security team and we have agreed that we are going to treat this matter with the urgency it deserves, “he said.
Kianda said there is a team in place working on the issue.
Last week, we intercepted quite a number of contraband goods that were being transported through Ijara and handed them to the Kenya Revenue Authority.
“We also intercepted a number of buses carrying contraband goods at the Tana Bridge police block,” he said.