NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya’s lead counterterrorism agency is working to stop another Westgate Mall-style terrorist attack — that many here believe Somali militants will try again — on a shoestring budget: The Anti-Terror Police Unit in Nairobi has just $735 to spend this month.

Documents seen by The Associated Press show that even after the September attack by al-Shabab on an upscale mall in Nairobi that killed at least 67 people, the country’s top anti-terror security force is allocated only around $2,205 for its operations — for maintenance and fuel for cars, travel expenses and office supplies — in January, February and March.

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

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, and Kenyatta is urging 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.

The anti-terror unit is struggling to do its work because of limited funds, said a security official from the police headquarters, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to share the information. The limited budget makes preventing another attack difficult, he said.


Despite the budget figures AP saw in official government documents, the spokesman for Kenya’s Internal Security Ministry, Mwenda Njoka, denied that Nairobi’s anti-terror unit had been allocated only $2,205 for the quarter. He did not provide any alternate figures.

The U.S. and U.K. only give material support to the anti-terror unit, such as vehicles, equipment and training, but do not give financial assistance, the security officials said.

Kenya is one of the top five global recipients of State Department anti-terrorism funding, which supports border and coastal security and law enforcement programs, according to a September report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service titled “U.S.-Kenya Relations: Current Political and Security Issues.”

In fiscal year 2013 a U.S.-Kenyan law enforcement cooperation program known as the Diplomatic Security Anti-terrorism Assistance program had a budget of $7.75 million, which is divided among multiple security services in Kenya and goes toward training and equipment.

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