Uhuru directs security officers to intensify war against al-Shabaab
President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed security officers to mount operations to flush out terrorist operatives and all sleeper cells in North Eastern and Coast region, in a move towards upgrading the country’s response to terrorism.
The President, who hosted top security chiefs in the highlight of annual security review and planning conference at State House in Mombasa Friday, said the tempo against terrorism must be high and aggressive, adding that sponsors and recruiters of terrorists must be targeted and dealt with harshly.
President Kenyatta told the security chiefs to be vigilant and bring to and end all means, such as smuggling of contrabands, through which terrorists receive funding.
“Specifically, any and by all means which the enemy is able to generate income from Kenya or to receive funds through our country, including contraband and illicit trade must be brought to an immediate end. Contraband from neighbouring countries directly funds Al Shabaab, which on the other side of the border illegally levies taxes that they then use to sustain their operations. This must stop,” said the President.
He said his last year’s directive that every county implement an action plan for the prevention and countering violent extremism was successfully achieved noting such efforts should rally protection of communities in the North Eastern and parts of Coast who have witnessed escalation of attacks by al-Shabaab militants.
“The people of Kenya should rest assured that we will respond robustly and that our nation Kenyan will and shall prevail,” said the President.
The Head of State directed national government officers, agencies and personnel to drive the determined implementation of county action plans to prevent and counter violent extremism.
“Doing this will allow citizens to be more resilient against radicalisation and terrorist propaganda,” the President said, adding: “Implementation of the measures must be taken in a systematic and measurable way and to that end, I will expect a report on practical undertakings and efforts with respect to the same by end of August this year.”
Also as part of counter terrorist strategy, President Uhuru directed national government administrative officers and police to engage local politicians, religious and opinion leaders within vulnerable communities as a proactive strategy to deny terrorism entry points into radicalisation of the youth.
“They should utilise the prevention capabilities, underline the county action plans so as to ensure that local violent extremism networks and recruiters are denied any space to operate in our country,” President Uhuru said.
For smooth delivery of public safety and security of the country President Kenyatta said there can no longer be room for silo mentality, insisting that resources of national government administrative officers and the police service must be synergised.
He directed that those who shall continue to insist and on working in silos and resist working in a coordinated way within the set multiagency structure be reported and a stern action be dully taken.
“In a quest to make Kenya safer, there can be no longer a room for silo mentality. Coordination and leveraging on synergies and economies of scale will ensure that resources are optimally utilised and deployed. We have more than enough officers and we continue to add more equipment which if we utilise them well we can defeat the enemy.”
In addition, the Head of State directed that security officers in hotspots undergo continued training that adapts them to the changing trends in preventing and fighting terrorist-related activities.
“Additionally, steps must be taken for the immediate vetting, training and kitting of National Police Reservists, to augment and support the mainstream police operations,” said the President.