In the face of a seemingly dynamic new trend of terror related attacks witnessed being the country lately, the government now initiated push to amend the counter-terrorism regulations to align them with the contemporary terrorist tact and manifestations.
The move is aimed at getting public input on how to curb radicalisation and eventually reduce terrorism at a time the country has witnessed shocking resurgence of attacks in North Eastern and Lamu counties days after the government reopened borders with Somalia.
According to a public advertisement by the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), members of the public are being urged to participate in the review of the National Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism (NSCVE).
The review seeks to collectively negotiate and adopt a strategy that is people-driven adaptive, responsive, sustainable, homegrown and alive to local needs.
The review process shall be an inclusive popular effort guided by the high threshold of the Constitution of Kenya including the values and principles of human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusivity, human rights and non-discrimination.
“To enable public participation in the review process, the Centre has established an interactive page on its website to facilitate dialogue and interactions among different stakeholders. The public is also invited to make comments and make memoranda and track the process through www.counterterrorism.go.ke/nscve.” The public notice reads in part.
Last week, five men were beheaded and many houses torched in an al Shabaab attack in Salama and Juhudi villages in Mkunumbi Division, Lamu County.
Witnesses and police said the attackers raided the villages at around 7.30 pm on Saturday, dragged the victims from their houses and tied their hands and legs with ropes behind their backs before executing them.
The victims of the Saturday night attack are all men, including a Form Three Student from Bakania Secondary School identified as Barack Hussein, 19.
The horrific massacre reminiscent of the Mpeketoni attack where at least 124 men were slaughtered is said to have been executed by a group of over 30 men, armed with guns, machetes and knives struck early in the evening.
Mid last month, Interior and National Administration Kithure Kindiki said that the Mandera/Belet Hawo (Belethawa) boarder will be the first to be opened in the next 30 days.
This particular border point provides entry from the Kenyan side at Mandera County.
“In the second phase which is 60 days from now, we should be able to open the second border in Liboi-Harhar/Dhobley. This will provide entry from Gariisa county.” Kindiki said.
The third border point to be opened will be Kiunga/Ras Kamboni in Lamu.
Last week, Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale said Kenya’s artillery requires upgrading, adding that the government will modernise Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) and Police artillery in a renewed move to bring an end to Al shabaab terror attacks both in the country and the neighbouring Somalia.
He said the government will acquire the sophisticated equipment in the next three months, which will include armoured personnel carriers (APC) with ability to detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs) along the areas under their command, adding that the equipment will go a long way to assist Police and the Kenya Defence Forces in the fight against Al-Shabab.
Many innocent Kenyans have lost lives in the wake of Al-Shabaab attacks while more others remain maimed by the atrocities masterminded by the dreaded militia group.
The deadly attacks have served to strain bilateral relations between the two neighbours, amid counter accusations over claims of weak security strategies.
In September 2013, armed Al shabab fighters stormed Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, firing indiscriminately at shoppers and killing 67 people in a siege that lasted 80 hours. The assault horrified the world and exposed weaknesses in Kenya’s security apparatus.
In November 2014, members of Somalia’s Al-Shabab armed group hijacked a bus in Kenya’s Mandera county and killed 28 non-Muslims on board in what was later believed to have been a revenge attack against what the group termed a ‘non-believer’ government fighting Muslims.
And in April 2015, Al-Shabaab launched yet another bloody assault on Garissa University College in Kenya, killing 148, mainly students.
In January 2016, fighters from the Somali armed group assaulted a Kenyan-run military base for African Union peacekeepers, killing scores of Kenyan soldiers.
In January 2019, twin explosions and gunfire heard at an upscale hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.
The attack on the Dusit D2 hotel complex in Nairobi’s Riverside area, which also housed offices and banks at the time, sent people fleeing for their lives.
There could still be armed assailants in the building and the police operation was ongoing, police sources reported.
At least 22 officers have died in the last two weeks in Garissa and Lamu counties while one suspected Al-Shabaab terrorist was arrested last Thursday along Garissa- Dadaab road by a multi-agency team.
Just last week, at least two Kenya Defence Forces troops were killed as they responded to an attack on a General Service Unit team in Lamu county.
At least 10 General Service Unit officers had earlier been injured when an armoured personnel carrier (APC) vehicle they were in ran over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) suspected to have been planted on the road by Al-Shabaab militants at Mlima wa Faru, between Pandanguo and Witu in Lamu County.
And in the latest incident, an IED emplaced on a public road at Elele, Mandera County exploded and destroyed a vehicle ferrying passengers to Takaba leaving four civilians dead and injuring six others.
The terrorist group continues to rig public roads in North Eastern region with deadly IEDs.
NCTC is an inter-agency body mandated by law to coordinate national counter terrorism efforts to detect, deter and disrupt acts of terrorism. In fulfilling this mandate, the Centre has coordinated national efforts that led to the adoption of the NSCVE in 2016.