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Kenya pledges robust investment in counter-terrorism initiatives

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya has set aside additional funds to revitalize counter-terrorism initiatives at the grassroots amid evolution of a menace which threatens the country’s future stability and economic growth, officials said on Monday.

Director of National Counter-terrorism Centre, Martin Kimani said Kenya will invest in new technological tools and community-led interventions to combat violent extremism effectively.

“Our security services have already increased investments in intelligence gathering and other operational capabilities in order to degrade Al-Shabaab and other terrorist networks that have attacked us in the past,” Kimani said in Nairobi during the 2nd anniversary of Garissa University terrorist attack that claimed 148 lives in northeast Kenya.

Heavily armed militants from Al-Shabaab stormed the only university in northern Kenya at dawn on April 2, 2015 and massacred 142 students and six security officers.

Kimani said Kenya was forced to go back to the drawing board and re-organize its security architecture after the terrorist attack that elicited worldwide condemnation.

“Since the Garissa University attack, Kenya has invested heavily in social, political and economic tools to defeat terrorism. This war requires close collaboration among our security agencies, civilians, religious and community leaders,” Kimani said.

He noted the launch of a national strategy on countering violent extremism by President Uhuru Kenyatta in September 2016 has re-energized the war against terrorism.

“We even have county led action plans to fight extremism and radical ideologies. At the same time, the state is addressing the issue of unemployment, poverty and under-development that make our youth vulnerable to radicalization,” said Kimani.

He added that community policing, enhanced border patrols and lengthy jail terms for terror suspects and their financiers have minimized the threat to manageable levels.

Terrorist attacks inside the Kenyan soil have declined significantly for the last one and a half years thanks to sophisticated intelligence gathering and harmonious relationship between security officers and civilians.

The Leader of Majority in Kenyan Parliament, Aden Duale attributed the slump in terrorist attacks to better policing, technology and community involvement in efforts to root out violent extremism.

“After the Garissa attack of April 2015, Kenya developed a more coherent, broad and well funded counter-terrorism strategy whose impact is visible,” said Duale. 




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