Den ekstremistiske al-Shabaab-militsen i Somalia kontrollerer området i sør og er aktiv i flyktningeleirene i Kenya. De trenger inn og straffer motstandere og rekrutterer nye fightere. Utviklingen uroer sikkerhetskilder.
The Shabab has already penetrated refugee camps inside Kenya, according to camp elders, luring away dozens of young men with promises of paradise — and $300 each. It has carried out cross-border attacks, kidnapping an outspoken cleric in May from a refugee camp 50 miles inside Kenya. Last Wednesday, in one of its boldest cross-border moves yet, a squad of uniformed, heavily armed Shabab fighters stormed into a Kenyan school in a remote town, rounding up all the children and telling them to quit their classes and join the jihad.
«If these guys can come in with their guns and uniforms in broad daylight,» said one of the teachers at the school, «they must be among us.»
Then on Saturday it happened again: Somali gunmen, widely believed to be with the Shabab, stormed the offices of an aid organization and kidnapped three aid workers from a Kenyan border town before melting back into Somalia.
Kenya har ikke ressurser eller vilje til å kontrolle grensen. Den er som et gapende stort hull.
Just this month, Transparency International listed Kenya as the most corrupt nation in East Africa. The region’s most corrupt public institution? The Kenyan police.
Even though the border is officially closed, Hassan Mohamed, a refugee who used to build houses in Somalia but got driven out by war, explained how thousands of Somali refugees find their way into Kenya each month.
«It’s easy,» he said, rubbing his thumb and index finger together in the universal sign of a bribe. «If you pay, you can come in.»
Grenseområdet er befolket av somaliere også på den kenyanske siden. I 1960 forsøkte de å løsrive seg og slutte seg til Somalia. Kenyanske sikkerhetsstyrker har opptrådt nådeløst. I 1984 ble det begått en større massakre på en rullebane.
Befolkningen er også antiamerikansk, til tross for at USA har brukt store summer på infrastruktur.
But in the areas along the Kenya-Somalia border, it seems that anti-Americanism is still spreading, despite the millions of dollars the American government has spent on a hearts-and-minds campaign.
Take an American-built well in the village of Raya. No one is using it, though Raya is desperately poor and dry.
«The Americans wanted to finish us,» said one villager, Ibrahim Alin, convinced that the American water engineers who built the well had poisoned it to sterilize him.