IOM, the UN Migration Agency, with support from the Government of Canada, organized a workshop on early warning, security threats, transnational organized crimes, particularly trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, and insecurity along the Kenya-Somalia. The training was held in Garissa County from October 1-3, 2018 and attended by 21 participants (4 female, 17 male) from the Border Management Committees (BMCs) and key stakeholders. The committees are made up of multi-agencies formed by the Kenyan government for coordinated border management with the aim of improving migration management, border control, and national security. The overall objective of the workshop was to help the BMCs and stakeholders have a deeper understanding on how to easily identify and flag early warning security threats, how and when to respond to these threats. This workshop is part of the continuing efforts to enhance security and border management in Kenya and across the region.
The Kenya-Somalia border is faced with major security threats such as transnational organized crimes particularly trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, terrorism, illicit trade including movement of contrabands goods, smuggling of illegal firearms, and money laundering among others. The workshop covered topics on smuggling of goods, such as counterfeits and contrabands, counter human trafficking, the role of technology in human trafficking, drug trafficking, and illegal firearms smuggling along the Kenya-Somalia border, money laundering and its linkages to transnational organized crimes. These topics were recommended during a Training of Trainers (ToT) on migration risk analysis organized for senior government officials from Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania, which was also funded by the Government of Canada.
Mr. Japheth Ogalo, the Border Management Secretariat (BMS), said “the government is happy with this initiative because early warning on related security threats training has created a common understanding of how to prevent and mitigate security threats before they escalate as well as have a better understanding of issues among the border leaders from Liboi and Amuma. This meeting has also given us an opportunity to share different experiences as well as helped us prioritize solutions for some of the challenges the country is facing on the Kenya- Somali Border.”
The participants highlighted that traffickers, migrant smugglers, and transnational criminals are changing their tactics every day. Thus, it is important for border communities to be sensitized and be aware of the risks through training, seminars, and workshops where they are updated on current trends. Effective crime control along the KenyaSomalia border should be promoted, as the long and porous border is susceptible to insecurity. The insecurity in neighboring countries creates a lucrative environment for contrabands business in the Northern region. Following the workshop, two days were dedicated to community engagement with local communities in Garissa - Bullah, and Bullah Market involving sensitization of residents on security threats, human trafficking, contrabands goods and importance of peace and harmony.
The community engagement sessions attracted over 160 community members in Bullah Iftin and over 220 in Bullah Market including the Office of County Commissioner, County Representatives, men, women, youth leaders, community opinions leaders, religious leaders and boda-boda operators. The trained personnel also urged the residents to cooperate with security agencies in Garissa County, the latter being an inland check point. Two other training sessions on transnational organized crime and security threats have been conducted within the framework of Enhancing Security through Improved Border and Immigration Management (Somalia, Kenya & Tanzania) Programme in Nairobi, Garissa and Naivasha. Additional community engagement sessions are in the pipeline per Country in Liboi-Somalia and Tanza