Parents who fail to report their missing children to the authorities at the Coast will be arrested and prosecuted, the regional police boss has said.
Coast Regional Police Commander Robert Kitur said nothing would hamper the fight against terrorism.
Speaking at the opening of the Kwahola Police Patrol base in Changamwe at the weekend, Mr Kitur said parents must know what their children are doing at all times.
Mr Kitur warned that if the authorities realise that an arrested criminal was not reported, it will be assumed that the parent was aware of the activities they had gone to engage in.
“The coast and northeastern regions are leading with numbers of missing youths. Parents are failing in their responsibilities. They are here while their children are on the other side of Somalia. You are the one to be arrested,” the police boss warned.
He added: “They disappear and the result is what you saw the other day in Garissa. If your child has gone missing, report immediately to the police.”
Mr Kitur also warned that those who have turned mosques into centres of radicalisation, saying they would not be spared.
“Religious leaders must help us fight radicalisation and terrorism. Mosques are places of prayer. They have been turned into radicalisation venues. Religious leaders and parents must be on the forefront for us to win this war,” he said.
The police boss blamed parents for not ensuring children go to school, making them vulnerable to drugs and radicalisation.
“To end terrorism, you must take your children to school, not letting them go to Somalia. You must teach them morality. When they use drugs or engage in crime, where do they return to? Don’t they come back home? And you say you do not know where they were?” Mr Kitur posed.
The commander said security teams in counties in the coast have started a programme of identifying those behind the recruitment, promising to release a report.
He added that neighbours and community policing agents would help in rooting out organised crime, abuse of drugs and insecurity in the region and beyond.
Changamwe Member of Parliament Omar Mwinyi urged the public to support police in maintaining security through community policing.
“The national and county government cannot keep you safe if you do not help them to do so. Police must be your friends. Working with them would boost security for every one of you and your property,” the MP said.
He asked the parents to ensure children go to school besides tracking them to establish what they are engaging in.