Police is set to receive five helicopters to boost Police emergency response and patrol in the country – this means that the Kenya Police’s troop carrier fleet will be expanded from one to six after repairs and purchase of new helicopters.
Information reaching us show that three choppers are expected to be delivered by mid-April after repairs.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaisserry noted that Kenya had four troop carriers but that only one was operational. The other three were taken for repairs last year.
According to him:
“In 2015, the NPS (National Police Service) bought two new helicopters and refurbished the three that were banned from flying. One of the two new ones will be delivered this week while two undergoing refurbishment will arrive by mid-April.
Delegates from Kenya who had visited Czech Republic last month have now received two refurbished helicopters – remaining one still under repairs.
The two refurbished choppers that were formerly used by Kenyan police before they were prevented from flying are the Russian-made Mi-17 which have a crew of three and can carry as many as 40 troops.
The two refurbished helicopters were handed over to a Kenyan delegation in the Czech Republic last month after they were flown to Prague where they have been repaired.
The delegates which include 10 senior government officials visited a hangar where the two Mi-17 were being serviced.
This means that four helicopters (two new and two repaired ones) would land in Kenya to add a leg up to the fight against terrorism for now and later the last one will be jetted into the country.
Earlier this year, president Uhuru also donated 30 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and body armour to make war against terrorism more intense while officers in volatile areas are protected.
The president has shown keen interest in opening an intense war against Somali-militant, Al-Shabaab.
Though some suspects have been able to outmaneuvered Kenya’s intelligence services during attack, the new boost to police force will lessen the rate at which attackers escape without being caught or killed.
While people across Kenya have marked the first anniversary of the massacre of 148 people at Garissa University – which honours those who lost their lives which unavailability of helicopter, and which was cited as one of the major cause of high number of deaths that could have been avoided – the president is making sure that such attack would never happen again.
Garrissa attack saw four al-Shabaab militants shoot students randomly in their dormitories before rounding up and killing dozens more. It was the deadliest attack in Kenya since al-Qaeda’s bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998, which killed 213 people.
The four gunmen reportedly from the group were killed during the siege but it took 16 hours for anti-terrorism forces to bring the attack to an end.
Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab, which is based in neighbouring Somalia, has carried out a number of attacks against Kenyan targets.
The group says it is retaliating for acts by Kenya’s security forces, which are part of the African Union’s mission in Somalia against al-Shabaab.