Behind the 14 River Side attack, perpetrators that happened in January 2019 was a woman by the name Violet Kemunto, who was the bride to Salim Ali Gichunge, one of Dusit’s slain attackers. A search to Violet’s background reveals a calm, quiet face that never would one have imagined being part of any criminal gang. Former school colleagues and neighbors testified that they never knew much about Violet as she led a quiet, lonely, and secretive lifestyle and many wondered the reason that convinced her to join a deadly gang like al Shabaab?
It is alarming and heartbreaking seeing how women are slowly losing their roles as peacekeepers and custodians of the family in the society by increasingly being recruited into extremism. In many communities, naturally, women are considered less violent than men an aspect that for years has afforded them the pleasure of undergoing less scrutiny and security checks compared to their male counterparts. Terrorists are seizing this opportunity and taking advantage of it to lure and use women to accomplish their evil motives.
Women being symbols of unity and peace ought to be empowered to take roles in the fight against extremism as they are our caregivers and would be keen to identify weird signs in young girls and the family at large.
The world has been transformed to a global village through the current technological advancements resulting to an era where information spreads like a bush fire, it is obvious that terror groups are working tirelessly to adjust to these changes and are taking advantage of various social platforms to radicalize not only men but also vulnerable young girls and women.
Many are times that the girl child has felt neglected and demeaned owing to different cultural activities that have resulted in women from certain communities feeling disowned to the extent of developing low self-esteem creating a void that is readily open for exploitation. This has seen many women easily getting lured into joining terror groups in the name of seeking identity and acquiring a sense of belonging.
Social Economic aspects, specifically poverty which have rendered many girls and women hopeless and desperate are key contributing factors to women joining criminal gangs. Terror groups take advantage of such constraints to offer lucrative promises of greener pastures to the weak women and young girls. Most women tend to buy to this idea only to later discover that it’s all fake promises and deception to one’s own grave.
Establishing an all-inclusive approach that does not discriminate based on gender and empowering women by offering equal opportunities in society is what will see the scourge of terrorism among young girls and women end.
Women being symbols of unity and peace ought to be empowered to take roles in the fight against extremism as they are our caregivers and would be keen to identify weird signs in young girls and the family at large. All in all, being vigilant and upholding morally upright values is what will see our community free from violent extremist groups.