•Officials said county enforcement officers who provide security in the counties will play major role in countering violent extremism.
•They have first-hand knowledge of what's happening on the ground, KDF to share 10 years' worth of experience.
In a new tactic, the government is training county enforcement officers to detect and counter-terrorism and violent extremism, especially near Somalia.
In a new tactic, the government is training county enforcement officers to detect and counter terrorism and violent extremism, especially near Somalia.
The new approach augments other tactics to combat al Shabaab militants from Somalia.
It is aimed at strengthening information-sharing at the grassroots in counties where youths are easy targets for radicalisation.
The counter-terrorism unit in the Kenya Defence Forces is currently training enforcement officers in three-day sessions. Training has been carried out in Mombasa, Kwale and now in Kilifi county.
Col. Harun Rashid, who is the lead KDF trainer, said on Tuesday since the war on terror began more than 10 years ago, Kenya has learnt a great deal from the enemy.
"The battle is far from over," he said in a Kilifi hotel.
He said the anti-terror programme is mainly carried out by officers from the National Counter-terrorism Centre and KDF.
"We will be coming with more intensive training in the near future, there will be longer-term training involving the National Police Service, KWS and all other multi-agency security teams," Rashid said.
The aim is to come up with a unified approach, he said.
County enforcement officers have a major role to play and KDF will share some information for the first time to enable them to help.
After the training, enforcement officers will have learnt new skills to spot and stop attempted radicalisation and counter violent extremism and potential terror attacks, Rashid said.
Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, who was the chief guest during the training, said some terrorists are living within communities.
He urged enforcement teams to be aware that some information will involve families and must be treated with confidentiality.
Saburi said those dealing with traffic, licences and security all interact with different people daily and training will enable them to identify suspected terrorists.
He said some youths easily fall prey to the agents who recruit young men, radicalise and turn them into terrorists.
Kilifi has the longest shoreline not far from Somalia and terrorist activities sometimes take place in the county. The training will help counteract them.
Just like fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, the terrorism war is here to stay and requires different approaches, Saburi said.
(Edited by V. Graham)