Kenya to delay re-opening Somali border over “wave of attacks”

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Kenya will delay re-opening its border with Somalia because of a “wave of attacks” it blames on al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants, interior minister Kithure Kindiki said on Wednesday.

In May the two governments agreed to reopen within 90 days several border posts including Mandera, Liboi, and Kiunga, which have been closed since 2011 when Kenya sent its forces into southern Somalia to help fight al Shabaab.

More than a dozen people have been killed along their shared border in the last month, part of what security analysts say are ongoing efforts by al Shabaab to pressure Kenya into withdrawing its troops from peacekeeping missions in Somalia.

“The government will delay the planned phased-out reopening of the Kenya-Somalia border points to facilitate comprehensive and conclusive handling of the recent wave of terror attacks and cross-border crime,” Kindiki wrote on Twitter.

Al Shabaab has been fighting for more than a decade to topple Somalia’s central government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islamic law.