In the wake of the recent suspected Al Shabaab attacks that killed six civilians in Lamu and left fifteen suspected Al Shabaab operatives dead; there has been an enhancement of security measures in the region in an effort to curb terrorist activities. This behoves us to remain vigilant and constantly aware of our surroundings.
All of us are called upon to be very alert of any suspicious behaviour within our vicinity. Some examples of what could constitute as suspicious behaviour are: if you notice someone taking pictures in an unauthorised area, leaving their bag unattended, showing curiosity to know about the security procedures of a building, looking for CCTV installations on a building etc. One of the recommended ways by the National Counter Terrorism Center, Kenya (NCTC) of reacting to such suspicions is embracing the motto of “If you See Something, Say Something”, which encourages civilians to report any questionable behaviour.
Reports can be made to +2547122247247,+254800722203 or here making sure to include details of their location, physical description and name if any.
Al Shabaab operatives do not morph out of the thin air, they are picked from among us. They plan and execute their attacks in plain sight of the public in seemingly innocent or normal acts. Oscar Wilde cautions us to “never love someone so much that you ignore the truth about them”. We not only live with but know the truth about our siblings, relatives and neighbours so the onus is on us to love them enough to not ignore the truth about them if we realise that they have started spouting radicalized ideas.
The NCTC has a C-SAVE programme that aims to sensitize the public on how to protect their friends, relatives and colleagues from radicalisation. This programme has a vulnerability and risk guide that can be used to make an assessment of an individual’s exposure, vulnerability or commitment to violent extremism conducive to terrorism. C-SAVE also provides practical recommendations on some ways to engage persons on the basis of the risk they are in, consistent with risk assessment.
The last resort is to report them to local law enforcement, which is by no means an easy feat given the strong pull of familial love and loyalty but we must have the guts to accept that being nice to a possible terrorist is equal to being a terrorist to someone nice. We should all rally and be our brother’s keeper. It is impossible to be too vigilant in the fight against terror and we must not relent in taking all the necessary measures to keep ourselves, loved ones and beloved country Kenya as safe as is humanly possible.