Magazine article New African

How Corruption Makes Terror Easy in Kenya

Magazine article New African

How Corruption Makes Terror Easy in Kenya

Article excerpt

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto has said that Kenya will change like America changed after 9/11. Whether Kenya copies the American response or not, it will have to tackle an enabler of terrorism in Kenya: domestic corruption, as Mark Kapchanga reports from Nairobi.

Over 147 people were killed in a pre-dawn attack on Garissa University College in North Eastern Kenya on 2 April. It was the most deadly terror attack in the country since the US Embassy bombing of 1998. According to the Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre, 79 people were injured, and 587 people were evacuated in addition to those killed. Barely four months before the Garissa attack, Kenya had been rocked by two other major terror attacks in arid Mandera, close to the border with Somalia: 36 quarry workers were butchered just days after the heinous shooting of 28 bus passengers outside the town.

In February, Kenyan authorities said terror attacks had killed a total of 312 people between 2012 and 2014. According to the then acting Police Inspector-General Samuel Arachi, 2014 had the highest number of deaths: 173.

"In the same year, 779 people were injured. Radicalisation, especially in Northern Kenya and coastal regions remains the most significant threat, when the youth decide to act violently based on their beliefs," Arachi said in a press briefing.

An investigation into the Mandera quarry worker massacre revealed that the attackers not only roamed freely in the area but were also assisted by the police and immigration officers to cross the Kenya-Somalia border. The border has long been a conduit for smugglers of sugar, charcoal and other goods as well as human and drug traffickers.

An intelligence officer told New African terrorists are now using these permeable spots to cross into Kenya from Somalia by paying corrupt border police and security officers. Unfortunately, he says, nothing can be done against them.

"More alarming are revelations that dozens of Kenyan military recruits who were being trained to fight [the Al Qaeda-linked terror group] al-Shabaab prior to the invasion of Somalia four years ago may have defected to the terror group and are now operating within Kenya," says Rasna Warah, a security analyst and Daily Nation columnist.

The Kenya police, tasked with maintaining law and order, are known for their culture of impunity and appetite for bribes. …

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