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A Rapid action plan to counter violent extremism activities

Counties  have been asked to fast track the development of coherent and inclusive strategies  to  supplement national government efforts in the fight against violent extremism in their regions.

The  National  Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) senior official, Benson  Ngeiywo said there was an urgent need for counties  to  put in place a rapid county action plan to help in preventing and countering violent extremism for the sake of peaceful coexistence.

Speaking on Monday at a Kabarnet hotel when he presided over the launching of Baringo Action Plan for preventing and countering  violent extremism, Ngeiywo said that Al Shabaab and other extremist groups have expanded their recruitment bases and cells to non-traditional areas and it was imperative that counties remain vigilant.

The chief liaison officer said the violent groups have in the recent past changed tactics, techniques and procedures in the way they execute their criminal acts by using bombing, hijacking, kidnapping, assault or murder among other methods to realise their objectives.

In  the  one  day  training workshop attended by various stakeholders from six sub counties in the area, the officer revealed  that  serious cases of radicalization and recruitment have been reported within learning and religious institutions that hitherto  were perceived to be safe.

“I urge  you to change your mindsets towards associating violent extremism with certain communities and regions and  know  that  things have changed. Terrorism is real and within us. Our children are being lured to join these groups every day,” he implored.

He  called  on parents  to  be  in  full control of their families by monitoring keenly the movement and activities of their children, stating  that  some  youth have  travelled to Somalia and even come back without the knowledge of parents or guardians.

The  meeting  officially opened by County Commissioner (CC), Henry  Wafula, the National Counter Terrorism Centre official also asked landlords and lodging proprietors to ensure  that  they profile all people seeking rental houses and  accommodation in their premises to avoid a scenario like that which took place in Kiambu where masterminds of 14 Riverside attacks stayed in a house for months without being known.

The  CC  in  his  speech  asked  the  stakeholders  to  work  together  with security  personnel  deployed  across  the

county  in  combating  all  forms of  crime.

The  rapid  county  action plan once in place, Wafula  stated, will go a long way  in  supplementing efforts  by  counter terrorism centre  to deal  with violent  extremism  within the county.

The  Deputy  governor, Jacob Chepkwony  who also attended the workshop underscored the role of security in development emphasising that when people are safe they are able to plan and carry out social economic activities in a peaceful environment.

“I just want to let you know that terrorism is with us and we need to counter it by all means,” he stressed.

Chepkwony who lauded the initiative mooted through a presidential directive in 2014 assured the national counter terrorism centre official that the county government will support it fully.

He  regretted that young people are pushed to join terrorist groups due to unemployment or abject poverty adding that there was need to put in place development programmes and projects that will enable the youth to engage gainful employment.

During  the meeting a 15 member stakeholder’s steering committee on county counter terrorism violent extremism (CVE)  was formed to spearhead the mapping of threat levels in the region and priority pillars for the county.

By  Joshua  Kibet

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