Kenya’s intelligence chief arrives in Mogadishu amidst rising terror attacks in Kenya

 Kenya’s Intelligence Chief, Noordin Haji, arrived in Mogadishu today for high-level visit aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism.  Haji was warmly welcomed by his Somali counterpart Mahad Salad upon his arrival . During his stay, Haji plans to meet with top Somali leaders to discuss joint Somali-Kenyan efforts to combat international terrorist activity and the threat posed by the militant group Al-Shabaab. The discussions are expected to center on intelligence sharing and the coordination of security operations along the two countries’ shared border.

The visit comes just days after Kenya disclosed delay in reopening its border with neighbouring Somalia because of a “wave of attacks” it blames on the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group, Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki said on Wednesday. In May, Kindiki and his Somali counterpart Mohamed Ahmed Sheikh Ali announced the intent to reopen the borders after high-level consultations in Nairobi and end a 12-year barricade that began in 2011 when Kenya launched an operation to fight the influx of al-Shabab fighters into its territory.

For more than decade, Al-Shabab has been fighting to destabilize Somalia’s central government and establish its own rule based on strict interpretation of Islamic law. Kenya sent troops into Somalia to fight the insurgents in 2011, and it is now major contributor to an African Union peacekeeping contingent in its neighboring country. The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) has participated in coordinated military operations and air strikes with the US and local clan militia, assisting in the retake of territory from al-Shabab. Kenya and Somalia have had tumultuous relationship in recent years, despite their shared fight against militants.

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