By Dickson Wekesa,
The national government has launched a new strategy aimed at countering terrorism and violent extremism in the country in hotspots threatened by the terrorists from Somalia.
The new approach, which is in addition to the many strategies of combating the Al-Shabaab militants' menace, is aimed at strengthening information sharing at the grassroots level in counties that are easy targets for radicalization.
Currently, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) counter-terrosim unit is conducting training for county government law enforcement officers to enable them to understand the scope of the terrorism menace.
Already, the training has been done in Mombasa and Kwale counties with Kilifi next on the KDF list.
Col. Harun Rashid, who is the lead trainer from the counter-terrorism unit, said since the war against the Al-Shabaab group begun over 10 years ago, they have learned lessons from the enemy that have been useful in countering violent extremism, but the battle is far from over.
Speaking in a Kilifi hotel, Col. Rashid said the program is being implemented by officers from the National Counter Terrorism Center and KDF.
''Soon we will be coming with more intensive training. There will be a longer-term training that will comprise the National Police Service, Kenya Wildlife Service and all other multi-agency security teams,'' he said.
Kilifi County Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, who was the chief guest at the training, said terrorism is a major threat to the country as some of the terrorists live in the local communities.
Saburi said the training will lead to the identification of more terror suspects by county staff who work in traffic, licensing and security departments since they interact with many people who are seeking government services.
''Our enforcement team is being trained on counter-terrorism and we are happy KDF is bringing in the knowledge to the officers so as to help in the war against terrorism,'' he said.
With the training, he said the enforcement teams will have the know-how on how to deter radicalization of the youth.