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Security chiefs put Narok on red alert for terror, identify hotspots

Thursday June 20 2019

Narok County Commissioner George Natempeya

Narok County Commissioner George Natempeya addresses the press in his office on July 16, 2018. PHOTO | GEORGE SAYAGIE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE SAYAGIE
By GEORGE SAYAGIE
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Narok County has been put on red alert for terrorism, security chief considering it fertile ground for recruitment and radicalisation.

This is according to resolutions reached during a three-day workshop on how to prevent and counter violent extremism in the county.

Security stakeholders who met at the Mara Frontier Hotel in Narok from Monday to Wednesday identified several hotspots.

They include trading centers and lodges around and inside Maasai Mara Game Reserve, areas along the porous Kenya-Tanzania border, as well as Olpusimoru and Olokurto areas along the Nakuru border.

They noted that some of these areas are hotspots for tribal conflicts and that they can be used as safe havens for radicalisation and planning terror-related activities.

IMMIGRANTS

In the forum organised by the National Counter Terrorism Centre, Narok town was termed one of the most exposed areas in the region, followed by trading centers in Narok South, including Olderkesi, Narroosura, Lemek, Kilgoris, Lolgorian and Ongata Barikoi.

The stakeholders noted that many immigrants have moved into these areas and opened businesses.

The meeting came weeks after a suspected terrorist was arrested outside Narok Stadium amid preparations for Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1.

Adan Galhai alias Urisha Galhai, 22, was arrested on his second attempt to get into the stadium, a day after he escaped from police custody.

JOINT EFFORTS

Speaking during the opening of the workshop, Narok County Commissioner George Natembeya said although security is a national government function, countering violent extremism starts from the grassroots.

“It is the duty of the government to secure the people and their property but security starts with you and I ... we should be suspicious of all strangers wherever we go.”

The stakeholders resolved to consolidate efforts to counter terrorism at county level.

This is in line with the national strategy, which calls upon county leaders to undertake activities that will enhance community cohesion, peace and patriotism while denouncing extremism.

PREVENTION

While closing the workshop, Narok Speaker Nkoidila Ole Lankas pointed out that steps to prevent engagement in terrorism, to begin with, would help prevent radicalisation and attacks.

In 2016, Kenya launched the National Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism, that seeks to employ a more inclusive approach in tackling the vice.

The plan, a sharp contrast to the conventional security-centred approach, ropes in actors including government bodies, civil society organisations and faith-based groups, which it assigns roles that cut across eight pillars.

The pillars are media and online, psycho-social, faith-based and ideological, legal and policy, training and capacity building, arts and culture, education, and security

The workshop put in place a county action plan and elected a committee led by Bishop James ole Nalamae to conduct training on matters security and build capacity to counter terrorism.

The committee will perform roles including raising awareness on terrorism and developing strategies to battle radicalisation and foster de-radicalisation.