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Haji to push for policies to reintegrate Shabaab returnees

Friday March 1 2019

TERRORISM

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji (left) listens to the complaints of a victim of land eviction in Dunga Unuse, Mombasa County, on February 28, 2019 after he opened human rights group Haki na Usawa offices. He said terrorism must be dealt with appropriately. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MOHAMED AHMED
By MOHAMED AHMED
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Lack of clear guidelines for rehabilitating and reintegrating reformed Al-Shabaab members into society is hampering the war on terrorism.

For instance, Mombasa, where radicalisation and extremism are high, has no centre for rehabilitating Al-Shabaab returnees

This was disclosed on Thursday, even as the government revealed that extremists are now infiltrating criminal groups known for muggings to radicalise and recruit youth to terrorist groups, especially at the Coast.

Speaking during the launch of the Mombasa County Counter-Violent Extremism (CVE) annual forum, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji said the loss of family values is partly to blame for increased radicalisation, especially at the Coast.

LEGISLATION

He added that society is not committed to tackling the menace.

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“As a community, we have been living too much in denial. There is a high rate of divorce. We entertain drug abuse and criminality among us, and those are the gaps the extremists use to exploit us,” he said.

Mr Haji said the war on terrorism will not be won without clear legislation on how to deal with returnees.

"We are working to ensure there is a clear way of dealing with the returnees. We will soon table those guidelines in Parliament. We need to have a defined course on this issue,” he said.

Mr Haji said his office is also working on a programme to help reintegrate the returnees. He spoke after Coast Regional Coordinator John Elungata said radicalisation is still going on in the region.

VIGILANCE

Mr Elungata said “normal” criminal groups have become the new drivers of extremism and radicalisation.

“It is the methods that have changed, and it’s our sons and daughters being used by extremists to infiltrate our community. We need to look within more than outside,” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Hassan Joho, in a speech read on his behalf by County Finance Executive Mariam Mbaruk, said terrorism poses a threat to the county’s’ economy.

He added that there is a need for proactive measures, and for the war on radicalisation and extremism to be treated seriously.

County Commissioner Evans Achoki said the CVE plan should be strengthened and implemented.

And Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid called for the inclusion of communities in the war since they know the weak links the recruiters are likely to exploit.