I had intended to write something witty, but following that harrowing terrorist attack at the DusitD2 complex, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Like every Kenyan, I have been following the aftermath of the attack avidly — specific witness accounts struck me. At least one of the cars used to carry out the attack had been seen several times in the vicinity of the hotel.
An eye witness, a man who sells clothes at the junction of Chiromo Road and 14 Riverside Drive, says that a couple of times, he spotted that car parked by the roadside. He says that no one left the car, and when someone did, it was to go into the hotel and return a few minutes later with coffee. This witness kept this oddity to himself, and only revealed it when it was too late for anyone to do anything about it.
But the witness account that I especially found perplexing is that of the neighbours of one of the men said to have been involved in this senseless attack. It turns out that the woman this terrorist lived with referred to herself as an “Al-Shabaab bride” on her WhatsApp profile. The neighbours knew this because she was on the estate security WhatsApp group. Irony right there.
Anyway, my question is, wouldn’t you be alarmed enough to act, (do or say something to someone) if you learnt that your neighbour, colleague, friend, or even relative did or said something that implied they sympathise with or support such a murderous bloodthirsty group?
Forget for a moment the fact that this couple’s neighbours had no idea what these two did for a living — there are many of us who have lived next door to someone for years yet have never bothered to find out how they earn their daily bread.
Such a blatant declaration though, of someone calling themselves a bride of an extremist group, should be enough to make you sit up and take notice. Enough to make you a little bit curious. Enough to stop you from minding your own business for a few seconds.
Unfortunately, terrorists, like those who brutally took the lives of over 20 people this week, will continue to kill, propelled by hatred and whatever else that guides them. We cannot therefore afford to mind our own business any longer, because these misfits live among us. Ask those that live in Muchatha’s Guango estate in Kiambu County.
We are, in fact, living at a time when we must stubbornly and aggressively start putting our noses into people’s business. We must revive our inborn curiosity, straighten our slack antennas, sniff the air around us more, and if alarmed, immediately voice our fears to someone who can do something about it. I should probably advise you to call the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit, or report to the nearest police station. At this point, someone is likely to ask how accessible our police force is in such a case, and whether you would be taken seriously if you reported a “suspicion”, but I digress.
My fellow Kenyans, it is no longer business as usual, let us be careful not to be like that neighbour who reveals she overheard one of her neighbours say, (several times) they will kill their spouse after the killing has happened.
The writer is Editor, My Network magazine, in the Daily Nation [email protected]