President Mwai Kibaki has assured wananchi that Kenyan security officers have intensified patrols along the Kenya-Ethiopia border with a view to forestalling a recurrence of violence in the area.
Noting that early this month the country lost several lives during a cross-border conflict on the Kenya-Ethiopia border, President Kibaki said his Government responded promptly to this security challenge by deploying additional security personnel in the affected border area.
"Following this deployment, peace and security has since been restored," the Head of State said.
The President was speaking Friday at the Recruits Training School in Eldoret where he presided over the passing out parade of newly qualified Armed Forces recruits.
President Kibaki pointed out that recently he also held discussions on the border conflict with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in Kampala and agreed on the need for a joint ministerial meeting which will seek ways of restoring any beacons that may have been destroyed along the Kenya-Ethiopia border.
In this regard, the President expressed confidence that the joint ministerial meeting of the two countries will resolve outstanding border issues and facilitate harmonious co-existence of the various communities living along common borders.
President Kibaki, at the same time, urged security officers deployed to the border to remain vigilant in order to ensure peace and security are maintained in the area at all times.
He also called on local leaders in the region to engage in peace initiatives involving elders between communities living along the border so as to resolve conflicts that are linked mainly to resource sharing.
"We are aware that since the 1990s, revenge attacks between the two communities along our common border with Ethiopia have been cyclical," President Kibaki said.
Besides the border with Ethiopia, President Kibaki observed that the situation in Somalia also continues to pose challenges to Kenya's national security.
Said the President: "These challenges have been worsened by the proliferation of small arms as well as the recruitment of Kenyan youth into radical insurgent groups."
In view of these threats, the Head of State said the Government has stepped up security measures to forestall any acts of aggression and ensure the security of Kenyans.
He disclosed that adequate officers have also been deployed to secure the border with Somalia and ensure fighting does not spill over into Kenya.
President Kibaki, therefore, asked members of the public to complement the efforts of the Government by volunteering information that will lead to the pre-emption of crime and the apprehension of criminals.
Regretting the recent death of five children from a bomb explosion in Kajiado district, President Kibaki said the military and other security forces must ensure that the training fields remain secure after training.
"I have, therefore, instructed that steps be taken to ensure unexploded bombs are removed from the training fields after firing exercises," President Kibaki said.
Recognize that the security challenges the country is facing transcend across borders and require transnational strategies to overcome, the President said the Armed Forces have continued to cooperate with other countries at the regional and international level in addressing security challenges.
Regionally, President Kibaki said the Armed Forces are actively engaged in the activities of the East African Standby Brigade with a view to building capacity in conflict preemption and management in the East African region.
At the international level, the President said the Kenyan Armed Forces have continued to take part in peacekeeping operations.
"Presently, our Armed Forces have deployed over one thousand personnel on peacekeeping and other international humanitarian work throughout the world. These commitments have earned our Armed Forces a proud reputation internationally," President Kibaki said.
Commending the Armed Forces for the civilian and humanitarian services they have continued to provide, the President said the Government appreciates their efforts and will continue to extend the necessary support needed to enable the country's security apparatus to discharge security services adequately.
To the newly qualified Armed Forces recruits, President Kibaki congratulated them and wished them success in their new career and in all their future endeavors, encouraging them to uphold the same strength of character and determination they demonstrated in the course of their training.
"You are also expected, to maintain high levels of professionalism and discipline. Above all, you are expected to maintain the highest standards of loyalty to the Government and people of Kenya," President Kibaki told the newly qualified Armed Forces recruits.
Earlier after he arrived at the Armed Forces Recruit Training School, the President officially opened a newly constructed kitchen.
The occasion was also attended by Forestry and Wildlife Minister Dr. Noah Wekesa, Defence Assistant Minister David Musila, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, the Chief of General Staff Gen. Jeremiah Kianga, service commanders and parents and relatives of the newly qualified recruits among others.