GARISSA – In the ongoing fight against terrorism, North Eastern Regional Commissioner John Otieno has called for a change in the government’s approach to security and intelligence gathering.
According to Kenya News Agency, speaking at a Garissa hotel during a two-day workshop organized by the National Counter Terrorism Centre, there is a critical need for updating the national strategy to counter violent extremism. This strategy has been in place since 2016 and was under review at the workshop. Otieno highlighted the adaptability of terrorist groups, who are utilizing emerging technologies to conduct intelligence-led targeted attacks, emphasizing the importance of staying ahead in intelligence operations to prevent catastrophic outcomes.
The regional commissioner underlined that the North Eastern and Lamu County regions have been heavily affected by terror attacks, with losses to civilians and security personnel as well as infrastructure like mobile telephone communication masts. Otieno stated that terror groups have shifted their tactics, focusing on security forces, government employees, and the general population.
Otieno commended local residents for providing information that has thwarted terror attacks and called for continued collaboration. He also addressed those who might sympathize with terror groups, urging them to support the government in securing the nation. He outlined the government’s two-pronged approach to combating terror: a ‘hard’ security-based approach and a ‘soft’ approach that involves de-radicalization efforts spearheaded by community and religious leaders, political figures, and civil society.
Furthermore, Njega Miiri, head of prevention and resilience at the National Counter Terrorism Centre, emphasized the significant role of the media in conveying messages of unity and security, urging for correct information dissemination to counteract the propaganda by terror organizations. Miiri stressed the need for cooperation between communities, leadership, and media to combat violent extremism, particularly among the youth.
The conference, which included representatives from various counties and sectors, aims to solidify a united front in the fight against terrorism, with the support of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, in partnership with the National Counterterrorism Center and Act Change Transform.