From the simultaneous attacks in Paris to the Christmas market in Berlin and now the events from Manchester, there are a variety of lessons to Kenya’s state of security that has been presented by the series of terrorism attacks across Europe in the recent past. This does not mean that we should be cowed by terrorism neither should we be hell-bent and put all our focus on it because of fear.
Like Manchester and other regions across the globe, Kenya is a diverse country and because terror attacks have been attributed to being crystallized by religiosity affiliations, we are prone and fragile to similar attacks as those in Europe hence measures need to be put in place to curb damage that a terror association may tend inflict.
So, how much have our security agencies and the intelligence system done or put in place to do away with the factors that can lead to possible terror attacks? The main suspect of the fatal attack in Manchester, Salman Abedi, is reputed to be only a twenty two year old and this brings about the topic of radicalization and violent extremism which many Muslim leaders have condemned and termed as heretical.
A survey done by SUPKEM in 2014 indicated that there were almost eight hundred returnees from violent extremist groups in Somalia and with the advent of technology, social media to be precise, the possibility of unemployed youths being integrated into terrorism organizations cannot be ruled out and therefore should be addressed to the core. After being victims of the Al-Shabaab at Westgate and Garissa University College, the discussion that dominated the most were of indoctrination that majorly targeted the youths from the Kenyan coast. . A major problem that we possess is that such discussions often diminish until we experience another attack. The conversations need to be continuing so that we are not caught flat footed.
Another lesson that we can learn from terror attacks in the west is prevention of maximum damage. Both in Paris and Manchester the perpetrators of this heinous act used soft targets to accomplish their missions. It is very disturbing to learn that In Manchester the victims included kids. In this season that major political activities are beginning to take shape vis-à-vis the coming general election, vigilance is something that we need to stress on. Security need to be beefed up in entertainment venues and other places where people congregate.
Proper investing on our intelligence system is also key in ensuring that we remain safe.