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MOMBASA, Kenya, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Thursday the government will invest in maritime security to ensure the safety of the industry.

Kenyatta made the pledge during the presentation of the Presidential and Regimental Colors to the Kenya Navy Manda Bay Base, an exercise that will see the military installation gain expanded operational autonomy as it sets out to become a more geo-strategic facility for national, regional and global security operations.

While noting that emerging maritime security challenges require responsive multilateral approaches, President Kenyatta promised that Kenya will continue to actively engage with partners to improve its naval capabilities and that the government will continue allocating adequate resources to the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) to enable them to fulfill their mandate of securing the country's interests.

"I call upon the local communities and leadership to collaborate with security agencies to achieve the success we desire," said the president in the coastal Lamu County, stressing that the frontline military installation plays a critical role in defending Kenya's sovereignty, maintaining territorial integrity, and securing the nation's maritime borders.

In a statement released by the presidency, Kenyatta said that Manda is an "invaluable listening and watching tower for Kenya and Kenyans." And the expansion of the naval base's operational autonomy was meant to establish a military installation with adequate capacity to respond to all forms of enemy aggression.

"The Kenya Navy Base Manda Bay is of utmost significance in enhancing counterterrorism efforts and maritime security, besides protecting the country's port infrastructure. In addition, this base boosts security in the region and guards vital trade routes that are the lifeblood of international commerce," said Kenyatta, who singled out the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor projects such as the new port, roads and other supporting infrastructure as some of the prized national and international investments that the military base is tasked to proactively protect round the clock. - Xinhua

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