- Mwangangi said an active cell existed in Nyeri but was dismantled after the killing of terrorist Salim Gichunge.
- Mugo said though Nyeri has never had a terrorist attack, it is a vulnerable county for recruitment to radicalisation due to the presence of slums and the great North road.
Nyeri has stepped up efforts to prevent the revival of violent extremism radicalisation cells in the county.
The fight is being spearheaded by Nyeri County Engagement Forum on Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism, chaired by the county commissioner and the area governor Mutahi Kahiga.
The Administrative Officer 1 in the county commissioner’s office Fred Mwangangi on Friday said an active cell existed in the county but was dismantled after the killing of Salim Gichunge.
Gichunge, a terrorist, was killed during the Dusit D2 Hotel terror attack in Nairobi in 2019.
He was a frequent visitor to Majengo slums in Nyeri town.
The cell members are believed to have disappeared to Somalia, he added.
Many young men from Nyeri town, he said, were also recruited into terror networks and taken outside the country.
Among strategies employed to prevent the revival of the cell is the use of social cohesion activities such as volleyball which brings members of the community and security actors together.
Volleyball is one of the most loved sports in Nyeri.
The games have been taking place in Kieni East, Nyeri Central, Tetu and there are plans to roll it out in Mathira East with an aim of building trust between security actors and members of the public.
On Friday, the activity was held at Giakanja shopping centre in Tetu subcounty that brought together elders of Kiama Kia Ma, Nyumba Kumi, mechanics, taxi drivers, boda boda operators and market traders.
Others were people living with disabilities, National Police Service, National government administrative officers, Kenya Wildlife Service officials and county government enforcement officers.
Mwangangi said the trust built between the community and security actors will enable the community to give information to the police not only on violent extremism but also on other criminal activities.
“We want members of the public to feel free to report to security agencies on all criminal matters,” he said.
“So many criminal activities have gone unreported because of the mistrust between the community and the police,” he said.
“So we want to build this trust so that information sharing can flow without problems,” he said.
Michael Mugo the director of Foundation for Dialogue (FFD) said through the activities, they were determined to reduce radicalisation of the youth to violent extremist organisations by improving communication and information sharing between members of the community and security actors.
FFD is a lead member organisation in the Nyeri County Engagement Forum on Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism.
The forum brings together national and county governments, private sector and other stakeholders engaged in the fighting of violent extremism.
“We have established that there is a trust deficit gap so that members of the community do not ordinarily report some incidences to the police for fear of victimisation,” Mugo said.
Mugo added that though Nyeri has never had a terrorist attack, it is one of the vulnerable counties where recruitment to radicalisation can take place due to presence of informal settlement and the great North road that traverses the county.
“So, those who bring arms from the North pass through Isiolo, Laikipia and Nyeri as they go towards Nairobi,” he said.
“If we stop recruitment and the transit of arms through Nyeri, then we are able to protect our sisters and brothers in Nairobi,” he said.
The same, he said, can be achieved by enhancing communication and sensitising the people so they can be able to detect and report incidences where they suspect transportation of armaments from the North to the police.
There have been arrests of suspected terrorists in Isiolo and Nanyuki and Nyeri is on that corridor, he said.
They have also been sensitising educated youth who are idle and who are easily radicalised with promises of jobs.
Mugo also called on the police to avoiding asking those who volunteer information questions that may discourage them from doing so in future.
FFD programme director Grace Wairimu cautioned the community that the ultimate price of joining the terror networks is death.
The forum donated balls, nets and other sporting equipments to the teams for sustainability of the programme.
Nyeri county KWS warden Paul Wambugu was also present.