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Returnees Finding Their Way Back to the Society


The majority of our young generation especially from the Coast, North Eastern, and now other regions we never expected get recruited into radicalized violent extremist gangs since 'Operation Linda Nchi' kicked off in 2011. However, the rise of other violent extremist groups which have led to conflicts on grounds of territory, influence, and power have seen many youths defect and surrender to the authorities while others staying and shifting their loyalty to other radicalized gangs.


Focus is now shifting on handling the returnee youth, who have come to terms with the fact that they were lured into extremism through fake promises of greener pastures, something that was never to be and has left many regretting to the extent of making up their minds to come back home.


Back in 2015, an amnesty program for returnees was introduced by the Kenyan government where the youth who had given up on extremism were urged by the then Cabinet Secretary for Interior Security the late Joseph Nkaisery to return home and report to their county commissioners after which the rehabilitation and reintegration process was to start to enable them to recover in various institutions.


The government through an inter-agency body, National Counter-Terrorism Center tasked various government departments to coordinate with the counties in developing de-radicalization, rehabilitation, and reintegration programs for returnees willing to quit violent extremism.


Despite challenges such as some returnees sneaking into the country and hiding without reporting to the authorities, the amnesty program has been a success and has seen many youth reforms through rehabilitation and getting reintegrated into the community.

Citizens ought to assist the government in the noble course of rehabilitating returnees in the villages and estates we live in. Anyone who disappears from the community and shows up after sometime should be grilled to know his or her whereabouts and in the event, it turns out that he was part of any violent extremist group the information should be forwarded to the county commissioners or any other relevant government authorities for the person to be absorbed in the amnesty program for rehabilitation.

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