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Al Shabaab Recruiting Youths In Kakamega Politician Raises The Alarm

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Al-Shabab's spokesman, Ali Mohamud Rage, speaks to Kenyan foreign fighters at one of the Islamist insurgent group's military training camps in Somalia in 2017.
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Suicide bomber who blew himself up at Dusit terror attack was positively identified as Mahir, a Kenyan who hailed from Mombasa, Gichunge, who’s said to be the mastermind of the Nairobi Hotel attack that left 21 civilians dead, came from Nyeri.

Al Shabaab in their new terror phase are targeting the youths male and female who’re non Somalis and recruiting them into the militia with promises of better pay and mostly it comes with intense radicalization.

Slums such as Majengo in both Nairobi, Mombasa and Nyeri due to the poverty levels, had been a fertile grounds for recruitments and many youths have crossed over to Somalia to join Al Shabaab. Most youths from these areas are on the anti terror police watch list.

The new face of Al Shabaab is represented by young men from different Kenyan ethnic groups. It is a departure from the typical profile of an Al-Shabaab membership from Somalia and sympathisers from local Somalis. It is also a marked difference from the youth from Mombasa and other coastal towns attracted to the jihadist ideology.

Elgiva Bwire Oliacha, alias Mohamed Saif was jailed for life after pleading guilty to grenade attacks in Nairobi that rocked the city in 2011. Bwire comes from Busia in Western where there’s an alarm over heavy recruitment of the youths into the terrorist organization.

Former Ikolomani MP Bonnie Khalwale has called up the anti terror unit to move with speed and find the person behind the recruiting going round in the area, “The national security organs must pitch tent in Kakamega and establish who is (are) behind the disappearance of our youth (mainly from Shinyalu) from their homes to join Al-Shabaab camps in Somalia.” Said Khalwale.

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Western region has been on the terror watch given increasing number of youths converting to Islam before disappearing to Somalia a jar of worms that has its lid now open by the former legislator.

Violet Kemunto whom the police have now listed amongst the top most wanted criminals said to be behind the Dusit attack, incidentally, went to school in Masinde Muliro University also in Kakamega, Western. She was wife to Gichunge whom the police say was the attack’s mastermind and believed to have been killed at Dusit.

With diversification in ethnic composition and using home grown terrorists, the security agencies must adopt to the changing times to avoid overlooking potential threats.

Initiatives such as Nyumba Kumi need to be taken with seriousness it deserves for surveillance, identifying and eliminating potential threats, Gichunge and Kemunto stayed at an apartment in Muchatha since March 2018 and planned the attack from there to its execution and no one suspected any foul play perhaps because of their ethnicity.

Other than securing borders, Nyumba Kumi initiative needs to be revived for human intelligence collection more so now that their could be a sleeper cell next door without you knowing since in Nairobi, no one bothers to know their neighbor and there lays the dangers.


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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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