The government of Kenya is in possession of a list of 35 people from Mandera County who were recruited by the Al-Shabaab to carry out attacks in the country.
North Eastern Regional Commissioner Mohamud Saleh says the group that mainly comprises of young boys is hiding within their communities with an aim of carrying out attacks and then retreat back to their comfort zones within their localities.
Saleh says the individuals who are well known to the locals have raised their families in Kenya and are crossing the border into and out of Somalia at will.
Addressing peace committee meeting, attended by elders from six sub-counties of Mandera County in Mandera town, Saleh said unless leaders from the area expose and condemn the group, the war against Al-Shabaab will never be won.
Saleh however, said security agents in the area have made tremendous strides in suppressing the Al-Shabaab menace in the region.
He said Al-Shabaab operatives use the area to sabotage government activities by targeting security vehicles and communication installations before retreating back to Somalia.
Amid the strides, county security committee is still experiencing challenges particularly in Mandera East, Arabia, Entire, Lafey and Elwak sub-counties that border war-torn Somalia.
The regional commissioner noted that although the government has used a lot of resources because of the Al-Shabaab menace, ‘it is reviewing its strategies and whether it can come up with new ones to combat terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism in the region’
Saleh is leading the regional security team on a five-day tour of Mandera and Wajir counties to acquaint himself with emerging challenges in the fight against terrorism.
The revelation came even as President Uhuru Kenyatta maintained Kenya Government has instituted a number of measures to counter-terrorism and violent extremism both at national and regional level.
President Kenyatta told the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) meeting in Addis Ababa on Saturday evening that one of the measures was the establishment of a National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), a multi-agency mechanism that ensures Kenya’s counter-terrorism policies are implemented.
“Other measures include rehabilitation programmes and initiatives that enhance de-radicalization processes through amnesty for all returnees from Somalia who wish to abandon criminal affiliations to rejoin the society,” President Kenyatta said.
Regionally, the President said Kenya alongside Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Burundi have contributed to peace, security, and stabilization in Somalia through the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM).
“Through these efforts, we have recovered significant territories that were previously under the command of Al Shabaab,” President Kenyatta said.
“We have also facilitated humanitarian relief by securing the main supply routes to enable safe delivery of humanitarian assistance to most of the affected populations,” the President added.
But despite the gains made in the fight against terrorism, President Kenyatta urged African countries to step up their support to the continental Peace and Security Council to ensure continuous progress in countering terrorism and violent extremism.