Kenya is on high alert as it doubles efforts in the prevention of terror attacks amid the recent alerts that have been issued. The National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) says it is working in harmony with all actors in the security apparatus and the community to prevent the carrying out of attacks in the country. “We have to be very proactive, think ahead and make sure that we are well prepared,” said Njenga Miiri, NCTC’s Head of Prevention and Resilience. He was speaking at an engagement by NCTC that brought together different stakeholders in the security sector and community to give their input in the fight against terror. “The idea here is to downgrade that pole of radicalization and recruitment so that indeed they will find it very difficult to survive in Kenya,” he said.
The NCTC is currently collecting views from different actors that will inform whether to keep the policies they have in place or develop new ones. It has held engagements in six different regions all over the country bringing together the 47 counties in their bid to review the National Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism (NSCVE). The NSCVE was developed in 2016 and is aimed at uniting all sectors in the collective rejection of violent extremist ideologies and goals. He said that there was a need to review the document given the changing face of radicalization and terrorism all over the world. This engagement which began in the Western region comes days after China and the US issued recent terror alerts to their residents in Kenya.
Miiri said that the involvement of different grassroots actors who are in touch with the community will help strengthen and inform policies to be implemented in this fight. “We have to be very dynamic, adaptive and responsible so that we can be ahead of the enemy because anytime that the enemy overtakes us then the results are devastating.” According to Miiri, the Israel-Gaza war is of great interest to Kenya since terror groups like Al Shabaab may conduct attacks in solidarity with Hamas. “The bulk of terrorism issues are transnational and we must consider the international geopolitics and factor them,” said Njenga. On his part, the Nairobi Deputy Regional Police Commander Daniel Chacha said that everyone in the country has a role to play in the fight against terror.
“Security agencies are looking forward to partnering with everybody whether in the security sector or private in the fight against terrorism,” said Chacha. Chacha said that happenings in the Middle East call for the involvement of all actors to prevent the same from happening in Kenya. “We need to partner to prevent the escalation of that wave into the region,” said Chacha. Mohammed Adan Osman, a community leader in Eastleigh, said that the involvement of communities from both the urban and rural areas is key to winning the fight against terrorism. Sammy Githii, the Executive Director of Yaden East Africa said that stakeholders should find more ways to get youths involved in this fight. “One of the key things is to ensure that the youth are not just discussed in meetings but to ensure they are participants,” he said.
He argues that the youth are the biggest target of radicalization due to their numbers, strength and tech know-how which is attractive to terror groups.
Source: The Standard by Fred Kagonye