The government has said it is implementing a comprehensive strategy to combat violent extremism in response to a surge in terrorist attacks in the North Eastern and Coastal Regions. This strategy includes increased surveillance and security measures.
Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo said that, in addition to ongoing patrols and surveillance efforts, increased resources are being allocated to expedite security sector reforms. These reforms include the provision of equipment and outfitting specialized units with advanced weaponry and protective gear.
Speaking in Malindi after addressing the technical committee on Police Reforms, Dr. Omollo announced that the National Taskforce led by CJ (Rtd) David Maraga, would in a week’s time submit its report to the President with the ultimate goal of addressing the welfare of security officers and at the same time enhance their effectiveness.
“Alongside the equipping of our police officers, we expect to see very critical and specific recommendations. From those recommendations, we expect to extract specific action points based on the implementation metrics, which will go a long way in ensuring that the issues of the police are properly addressed,” he said.
President William Ruto’s first budget for the 2023/24 Financial Year allocated Ksh.500 million to initiate the first phase of the progressive Equipment Modernization Programme under which specialized and formed units will receive new protective gear, armoured personnel carriers (APCs), mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles (MRAPs), drones, and gunship helicopters to improve their capacity in preventing and responding to terror threats.
The programme will also be extended to the acquisition of sophisticated and modern communication gadgets as well as in-service training on culture change and infusion of professionalism within the Service.
Inter-agency and Community Cooperation
Additionally, the PS announced that government agencies have intensified their collaboration through multi-agency operations and community-driven initiatives to combat the persistent threat that has afflicted the two regions for an extended period.
In line with this, plans have been devised to encourage civilians and other stakeholders to assume a greater role in preventing and responding to potential attacks within Kenya.
Dr. Omollo anticipates that this approach will help put an end to the sporadic attacks that have occurred in the recent past, many of which were thwarted through close cooperation between security personnel and the general public.
“We are committed to fostering a culture of open dialogue and information-sharing among stakeholders, key among them the local communities, at all levels. It is our hope that we will be able to enshrine citizen participation in security by inculcating a sense of shared responsibility when it comes to the management of security at the grassroots level,” he said during a separate security consultative forum.
During the meeting, which was also attended by chairs of Regional and County Security and Intelligence Committees, the PS noted that it will take genuine and seamless collaboration between government agencies, civil society groups, and the public to counter violent extremism.
“It is our hope that we will be able to enshrine citizen participation in security by inculcating a sense of shared responsibility when it comes to the management of security at the grassroots level,” Dr. Omollo said.
“So, we are calling on every player to come on board. Government agencies, elected leadership, particularly from the most affected regions, and also wananchi themselves, because they are the ones who actually are the biggest group that bears the brunt of terrorism.”