Kenya lost 83 people in terror attacks in 2019, report shows

Wednesday March 18 2020
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People being evacuated from DusitD2 Hotel during a terror attack on January 15, 2019. Kenya lost 83 people in 2019 as a result of terror incidents, a new report shows. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ALLAN OLINGO

Kenya lost 83 people in 2019 as a result of terror attacks, a 20 per cent increase from 2018 when such deaths stood at 56.

This is according to a new report released by the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies (Chrips).

The data, which is derived from Chrips Terror Attacks and Arrests Observatory report, also shows that 42 security officers lost their lives as a result of direct attacks by the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.

Furthermore, 26 civilians were killed during the period under review.

DUSITD2 ATTACK

The largest number of civilian deaths occurred in the DusitD2 attack on January 15, 2019 where 20 people lost their lives.

The observatory also recorded the deaths of 11 suspected Al-Shabaab militants in separate incidents involving the attackers and Kenyan security agencies.

Chrips Director Mutuma Ruteere said the figures show that the number of terror attacks increased from 23 incidents in 2018 to 34 last year, with Mandera and Wajir counties bearing the brunt of these incidents where nine occurrences were reported in each county.

“The escalation of the situation has raised concern with leaders from northern Kenya, who recently called a security meeting to address the situation in the region,” Dr Ruteere said.

SUSPECTS

According to the data, 135 suspects were arrested last year for various offences related to terrorism including 44 Kenyans and 12 foreigners. The foreigners were from Britain (2), Ethiopia (2), and one each from Tanzania, Somalia, Canada and New Zealand. Four others were from unspecified nationalities.

Of these arrests, the highest number was recorded in Nairobi and Garissa counties.

ARRESTS

Last year also saw new arrests of terror suspects in counties which had not previously been recorded in 2017 and 2018. These included Elgeyo-Marakwet, Marsabit, Bomet, Kisii, Uasin Gishu, Kiambu, Trans Nzoia, Narok and Kitui.

“Although security agencies have intensified counter-terrorism measures, reports of increased attacks in the country show that there is much more to be done. Al-Shabaab still poses a high security threat to Kenya’s internal stability,” Dr Ruteere said.

The report also showed that outside of Mandera and Wajir, six other counties, including Garissa, Lamu, Nairobi and Mombasa, were affected by repeated terror incidents.

The report shows that 74 people were injured of whom 37 were civilians and 37 security officials. A further 12 people were kidnapped last year, with nine of them being civilians and three security officials