The fight against terrorism and violent extremism in Nyeri County received a boost after the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) set up the first sub-county counter-terrorism engagement forum.
The special committee, now in its pilot phase will complement the Nyeri County Engagement Forum by implementing the Nyeri County Action Plan on prevention and countering violent extremism.
In addition, the committee will also address some of the challenges faced by victims of the 2014 Mandera quarry attack where more than 36 quarry workers from the sub-county lost their lives.
The committee brings together players in the security sector, religious leaders, civil society groups, members of the business community, youth leaders and cultural elders.
According to NCTC’s director Njenga Miiri, the centre will be using the Kieni-East CEF as a model which will inform the formation of other sub-counties in Nyeri County adding that the main plan is to have sub-county CEFs in all the 47 counties.
Miiri noted that terrorism is still the biggest security challenge facing super powers and smaller nations.
He said creating awareness among the public about terrorism was key in the fight against possible radicalization, recruitment into terror groups and prevention against possible attacks.
“Terrorism is a problem that has brought nations together as they seek a solution to the menace. Our aim is to help the public understand the problem and how to tackle it so that these terrorists are left with no place to hide. Using the pilot, we can expand to other sub-counties in Nyeri and eventually to other counties in the country,” he said during the launch of the Kieni-East sub-county CEF.
Nyeri County Secretary, Benjamin Gachichio termed terrorism as political war adding that the only way to win against terrorism is through collaboration between members of the public and the government working together to block infiltration by terror cells. He intimated that the county government was putting in place structures that would ensure that the Nyeri County Action Plan would continue to run even with the change of administration.
“There are legal, budgetary and regulatory frameworks that are being worked out to ensure that this programme is sustained within the county government systems. And ensure that the programme will continue to benefit the county residents,” said Gachichio.
In May this year, Nyeri governor Mutahi Kahiga said that the county executive was in the process of developing the Nyeri County Community Resilience Against Violent Extremism Bill, 2022.
The bill which is still under draft will provide a framework to counter violent extremism and radicalisation.
Nyeri County Commissioner, Mohammed Barre said the country was still vulnerable to terrorist attacks and called for collective responsibility in the fight against the menace.
He noted that there was still a trust deficit between security officers and the general public and urged the disciplined forces to work towards restoring the dwindling public confidence as a way of promoting information sharing.
“Terrorism is real and it is still with us. The best thing we can do is work together to effect the County Action Plan in all corners of the county because the fight against terror is a collective responsibility. Let us do our best as security agents to restore the trust with the public to make it easy for them to report suspicious activities,” he said.
By Wangari Mwangi