Kenya anti-terrorism squad gets $735 a month

Unit charged with preventing another Nairobi mall attack has tiny budget for essentials such as vehicle repairs: agency.

    Kenya anti-terrorism squad gets $735 a month
    The police unit was formed in 2003 after an attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa [Reuters]

    Kenya's lead counter-terrorism agency has just $735 to spend in March, according to documents seen by the Associated Press news agency.

    The force is allocated $2,205 quarterly for its operations - for maintenance and fuel for cars, travel expenses and office supplies - in January, February and March. 

    The unit is struggling to do its work because of limited funds, said a security official from the police headquarters, who insisted on anonymity. The limited budget makes preventing another attack difficult, he said.

    By comparison, a Kenyan member of parliament earns about $45,000 in salary and allowances during the same three-month period.

    Pay cut

    Kenya is facing a budgetary crisis brought on by high salaries paid to some government employees, its government has said.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta and his vice president each pledged last week to take a 20 percent pay cut. Kenyatta also urged other top government officials to do the same, saying the country cannot afford to pay so much in salaries.

    Last week Kenyatta said more resources will be allocated to the police and military. "For a long time, the security sector has not been given the attention it deserves. We are changing that," the president said.

    Last September the Somali rebel group, al-Shabab, attacked Westgate Mall - an upscale shopping centre - in the capital Nairobi killing at least 67 people.

    SOURCE: AP


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