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Approach to security crisis is wanting

20 June 2014, 13:26 Mubweka Orodi

Security has been an issue for the Kenyan people ever since the post election violence that threatened to tear the country into pieces. Civilians have been bombarded with numerous attacks from within the country and externally.

With the rise of Islamic militia outfits across the globe, Kenya has faced increased threats owing to its close proximity to one of the highly insecure states in the world. To the north east, Kenya borders Somalia, a country that has suffered lawlessness for over two decades.

Ever since the death of Mohamed Siad Barre, Somalia has experienced continuous infighting and increased piracy activities that have lasted for over two decades affecting the entire world in one way or another.

Although piracy seems to have been dealt a heavy blow with the deployment of naval ships by European, Asian and African states, insurgent activities by the ragtag militia Al Shabaab have continued to spread beyond the horn of Africa state.

Backed by the Al Qaeda, the militia inside Somalia has employed tactics and artillery in their war against stability and economic development in the country with the longest coastline in Africa. These activities carried out by the terror group have had adverse effects on neighboring countries and the most affected is Kenya, our motherland.

September 21, 2013 marked the height of terror activities inside Kenya when the Al Shabaab militia group sent its fighters into Westgate shopping mall to slaughter innocent civilians. More than 60 people lost their lives and hundreds were injured in the massacre that lasted four days. Kenyans could not believe that on their own soil an attack of that magnitude could be launched in broad daylight especially in an area full of expatriates and believed to be highly secure.

Since September last year, grenade attacks and sporadic gun attacks have been the norm especially in coastal town, the capital city and towns located close to the Kenya-Somali border.

Deaths due to these attacks have been on an increase over the last nine months and the same statements issued by security chiefs and senior government officials back in September have not changed in any way.

Government always says they will step up security in the country and acts of terror will not be condoned. They go forward to assure Kenyans of better security and prosecution of the perpetrators.

Days ago, Mpeketoni town was attacked and the Al Shabaab claimed responsibility. More than 50 people were killed, mainly men, and buildings were torched including a police station.

Residents have given accounts claiming that the attackers spoke in certain ways, carried certain items with them, had a commander of some sort and men were the target group. These accounts are very important and the government needs to collect all the data available so that they can make informed decisions.

However, advisers and security chiefs sitting in Nairobi seem more informed on what happened, how it happened and who actually carried out the heinous act.

It is very absurd for the government to ignore evidence being provided by the victims of the attacks and adopt intelligence provided by persons who were in Nairobi and only got to know of Mpeketoni after the terror was unleashed.

Allegations made by government state that political motives are behind the attacks and they have reiterated through the president’s statement that evidence is in handy and suspects will be arraigned in court to face the law.

If intelligence gathered shows that the attack is of a political nature and suspects are known, what is the police service waiting for?

Al Shabaab have claimed responsibility for the attack and statements from their leaders have been aired across the through the international media agencies.

The manner in which the executions were carried out have numerous similarities with Boko Haram activities of insurgency.

Victims have recounted what happened and the clues point to terror attacks of Al Shabaab origin.

A dozen of the killed men are from Kisii tribe in south western Kenya. What then, is the president referring to when he says a certain community was targeted and that the attack is of political nature?

Focus must be redirected towards reinforcing security.

Funding to the security agencies should be done and followed up by audits to ensure the funds are used as intended.

There is also need for a real shake up in the security ranks especially police and intelligence units. People need to be transferred, redeployed or even sacked depending on what is deemed necessary.

Without these the government might continue doing a lousy job and blaming all but itself.

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