Feelings of insecurity and the high level alert across East African states played out in the public in Kenya and Burundi this week.
In Kenya a General Service Unit Para Military officer was wounded by suspected Al-Shabaab invaders on the North Eastern Liboi border. Police later arrested a suspect in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate.
Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe and military spokesman Bogita Ongeri said, ‘we are in charge we have sent more officers at the border and we will not allow such violations of our sovereignty anymore.’
In Burundi Thursday 22nd July, Police said they had unearthed an arms trafficking ring after a shootout with gang members in the capital Bujumbura.
Regional police commander David Nikiza said two people arrested after the gunfight earlier on Wednesday led them to a depot near Lake Tanganyika in the east of the country where they found guns, grenades, army uniforms and several utensils.
‘These criminals said they were going to supply a rebel group led by a Tutsi man called Bosco who operates from the Rukoko marsh,’ Nikiza said.
The Rukoko marsh near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was a rear base of Burundi’s National Liberation Forces (FNL) rebels who signed a peace deal and joined the government last year. ‘Security forces are at the moment trying to verify if all this is true,’ Nikiza added.
The FNL leader Agathon Rwasa, who was seen as a key challenger to President Pierre Nkurunziza in a marathon electoral process that kicked off in May, went into hiding last month, sparking fears of renewed violence in the war-scarred central African nation.
The main opposition parties are boycotting the elections, on the grounds that there was massive fraud in the opening local council polls.
Today, Friday 23rd July, Burundians will vote in legislative elections, the last major step in the series of polls that have been marred by vote-rigging allegations, violence and arrests. In Kenya a referendum on anew Constitution is set for August 4.