AFRICANGLOBE – The United Kingdom has vowed to help Kenya enhance its defense and security capabilities to the tune of 8.6 billion Kenyan shillings (roughly $87.3 million).
“I am talking about cutting-edge capability in border security, secure communications, airport security, bomb-detection kits, conservation technologies and forensics,” British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner told reporters recently.
He said London was aware that Kenya was facing challenges amid its ongoing fight against terrorism in the East African region.
The senior diplomat added that the U.K. would share its experience and expertise in counter-terrorism with Kenya.
“We will offer training to Kenyan troops like we have done in the past in Laikipia [a Kenyan town located in the Rift Valley region],” he said.
“We will also have Kenyan forces flown to Britain to be trained,” added Turner. “We have a program on police reform, counter-terrorism assistance and governance in the security sector.”
The diplomat reiterated his country’s keenness to enhance existing security ties with Kenya.
“This is a relationship which works in both our interests; a more prosperous and secure Kenya means a more secure United Kingdom,” he said.
“That is why we are working extremely closely with the Kenyan authorities to reduce the security threat,” he added.
According to Turner, the U.K. spent some 4 billion Kenyan shillings in 2014 to support governance and security in Kenya through its “Drivers of Accountability” program.
The program, launched by the U.K.’s Department of International Development after Kenya’s post-election violence in 2007/08, seeks to improve government accountability in Kenya.
It promotes key reforms, efforts aimed at strengthening oversight and government accountability, and better governance.
On Wednesday, Turner co-launched the first ever U.K. Trade and Investment Defense and Security Trade Mission to Kenya.
At least 17 British security companies are participating in the event to look into possible investment opportunities in the East African country.
Kenya has faced a recent spate of attacks from Somalia’s Al-Shabaab terrorist group.
In March of 2014, gunmen stormed a church in the coastal city of Mombasa, killing four people. And in mid-June, gunmen killed 65 people in and around the town of Mpeketoni.
More attacks followed as the year came to a close.
On Nov. 22, Al-Shabaab militants hijacked a Nairobi-bound bus in Mandera, killing 28 people aboard, all non-Muslims, including 23 teachers.
A month later, 36 quarry workers, all non-indigenous, were likewise killed by Al-Shabaab.
The militant group describes its attacks against Kenyan targets as retaliation for the deployment of Kenyan peacekeepers in Somalia.
Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.
Earlier this year, fractious Somalia appeared to inch closer to stability after government troops and African Union forces – deployed in the country since 2007 – drove Al-Shabaab from most of its strongholds.
The militant group, however, has continued to mount attacks against government forces and African peacekeepers.