The government has unveiled a new police unit to patrol the Kenya-Somali border on camels in a bid to combat banditry in the region.
The first of its kind in Kenya, the camel patrol unit under the Border Patrol Unit of the Administration Police Service will be based in Isiolo County.
Reports indicate that the unit will feature 50 camels that are currently undergoing training in Isiolo in preparation for deployment to the Kenya-Somalia border.
[caption caption="A team from the camel patrol unit"][/caption]
According to the Standard, the camel unit was created to beat the rising cases of terror attacks targeting security personnel on patrol in far-flung areas.
The Al Shabaab militia have been targeting military and police vehicles in Northern Kenya using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) buried on the road.
Sources indicate that at least 70 police officers have perished in the last two years as a result of IED attacks on their convoys that are mostly on patrol in harsh terrain.
Other than curbing infiltration by the Al Shabaab militants, the camel is expected to aid in containing cattle rustling incidents among the pastoralist communities.
Camels have been successfully deployed for border patrol in other countries including India, Australia and New Zealand.
"Camels, if and when trained well, are intelligent animals that can see far and alert their riders of incoming danger. This is a good move," a source is quoted by the Standard.
Close to 100 officers are reportedly training and taking care of the first team of camels ahead of the launch of the new unit which is expected to be "more effective and responsive".
[caption caption="A police service vehicle wreckage after an IED attack"][/caption]
The camels will be the latest addition to the police service animal units that currently include the deployment of dog and horse units for search, rescue, customs surveillance and anti-poaching duties.
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