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Govt reviews anti-terrorism measures in wake of increased attacks

19 June 2015, 08:10

Nairobi - The government said Thursday it has accelerated the restructuring of national security laws and policies to strengthen the fight against terrorism.

Principal Secretary for Internal Security, Monica Juma, said a review of counter-terrorism measures has gone over-drive to foil new attacks in the country.

"The government has intensified the fight against terrorism using innovative and efficient tools as the threat keeps on mutating. We have maintained democratic ethos while combating terrorism," Juma told a public forum in Nairobi.

She noted that Kenya was facing a virulent and sophisticated form of terrorism hence the need to review security laws and governance structures.

State officials, scholars, community and religious leaders attended the national counter-terrorism symposium in Nairobi.

The symposium was held in the wake of an attempted raid on a military camp in Lamu County by Somalia based militant group Al- Shabaab on June 14.

The nation has suffered a spate of attacks from Al- Shabaab since 2011 when the KDF troops were deployed inside Somalia to flush out the militants.

According to government records, an estimated 1,000 Kenyans have died from terrorist attacks in the last five years.

Read Also: No curfews during Ramadhan, Uhuru says

Juma noted that terrorists have exploited porous borders, local grievances and weak policing systems to carry out vicious attacks inside Kenya.

"We are currently dealing with an enemy that has infiltrated strategic institutions like schools to recruit new fighters. The terrorists' aim is to annihilate the very foundation of a nation state," Juma said.

She said state organs have joined hands with communities and religious institutions to implement an ambitious counter-terrorism strategy.

Juma noted that besides the review of security laws, the government has promoted public awareness to warn communities against falling prey to radical groups.

"A deracialization program targeting schools is in the works to shield the youth from the snare of terrorists. The government has increased budget for security forces to enhance intelligence gathering and coordinated response to terrorism," she said.

Analysts said Kenya must invest in youth, reorganize security apparatus and forge partnership with foreign allies to boost the war against terrorism.

Musambayi Katumanga, a political scientist at the University of Nairobi stressed that a retraining of security forces, enhanced border controls and youth empowerment are key to win the fight against terrorism in the country.

"The political elite should rally citizens towards fighting a common enemy that seeks to delegitimize our very existence. We need to offer the youth an alternative vision that overshadows the utopia promised by radical groups," Katumanga said.

"Our focus is on strengthening the legal framework to enhance investigation and prosecution of terror suspects. We are fighting an ideological battle and there is need to counter the narrative spread by radical groups using innovative and smarter approaches," Juma said.

She noted that initiatives like community policing, vigilance at the ports of entry and investments in modern technology have foiled terrorists' plots.

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- Xinhua


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