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Kenyans Oppose Somalia Border Closure
Africa

Kenyans Oppose Somalia Border Closure

The recent closure of the Kenya-Somalia border is most unwelcome to residents. For decades, these two sides have co-existed for reasons ranging from trade, medical attention and even social events like marriages. The tiff between Kenya and Somali escalated further this week after the security department announced the closure of the border at Lamu and subsequently banned residents at the border villages including Kiunga, Ishakani and Ras Kamboni from engaging in any cross-boundary trade and other activities. The announcement that the border was now closed off to all civilian activity has been met with shock and disbelief for residents who are now asking how carry out activities without the other side. Pregnant women and children will suffer the most. For the longest time, women and children from Ras Kamboni and nearby areas have had to cross over into Kenya’s Kiunga health centre, the only medical facility on the border for crucial medical services like prenatal care and immunisation. The border residents would also benefit from the numerous free medical camps organised by the Kenya Defense Forces. Residents who spoke on Friday, however, criticised the move saying it was likely to lead to economic and social disputes. Abdalla Baabad, who is the MCA for the border ward of Kiunga in Lamu East, said the closure of the border was absolutely unnecessary considering the affected areas are already facing other challenges like the lack of medical facilities and schools. “I have personally received hundreds of complaints since the announcement was made. Was there no other way to do this? What happens to these women and children whose only source of medical attention has now been put off? The government needs to reconsider, ” Baabad said.