FIGHTING INSECURITY

Sh2 million project launched in Kwale to counter extremism

This follows the surging number of youth joining extremist groups in the region.

In Summary

• According to the organisation's last year's statistics, approximately 4,000 youth were reported to have been affected in the Coast region since the the problem began.

• In Kwale, for example, at least 1,000 youths are believed to have been radicalised so far. Msambweni and Matuga subcounties are the hardest hit.

Youth taken through a sensitization campaign to counter violence in kwale in September 2021.
CAMPAIGN: Youth taken through a sensitization campaign to counter violence in kwale in September 2021.
Image: SHABAN OMAR

Jamii Action Centre has launched a Sh2 million project to help counter violent extremism in Kwale county as the electioneering period nears.

This follows the surging number of youths joining extremist groups in the county. 

Kwale has been on constant security radar over insecurity cases linked to militant groups.

According to the organisation's last year's statistics, approximately 4,000 youth were reported to have been affected in the Coast region since the problem began.

In Kwale, for example, at least 1,000 youths are believed to have been radicalised so far. Msambweni and Matuga subcounties are the hardest hit.

Mostly are youths between age 15 and 16 years, unlike the previous age bracket of 18 and above.

Project officer Jembe Hussein termed the number as alarming as a big per cent of the young generation is involved.

"It has now been worrying, looking at the rate at which children fall into radicalisation practices," he said.

The project, funded by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, will take approximately one year.

Hussein said they aim at sensitising the vulnerable youth to the vice and empower them economically.

Unemployment, idleness and lack of religious knowledge remain to be the main contributors to increased criminal activities and radicalization.

Many youths are tricked and promised good jobs but end up being trapped in the jaws of radicalised gangs.

Hussein said the youths will be picked from the streets where they spend most of their time and recruited into the programme for resilience.

"We are targeting to reach out to them in the Muguka areas or any other places to equip with resistance skills to avoid temptation," he said.

About 1,306 youth between 17 and 35 will benefit from the project.

Hussein said the programme is also targeting to curb tension as 2022 campaigns gain momentum.

According to Hussein, jobless and brainwashed youth are often used to disturb peace during elections.

He said the young people would be provided with resilience mechanisms to shun violence and lead prosperous peaceful lives.

Human Rights Agenda officer Winnie Hachi said extremism has cost so many energetic lives hence the need to stop the crime. 

Recently, police killed a suspected al Shabaab Militant at Bombo in Matuga, two escaped with fatal wounds. 

Hachi said already, human rights groups have pumped a lot of money in leading campaigns to end radicalization among the youth.

Matuga subcounty assistant county commissioner Robert Shunet said the government is ready to work with youth and help fight radicalisation.

Edited by EKibii

Jamii Action Centre project officer Jembe Hussein in Matuga youth office in Kwale in September 2021.
Jamii Action Centre project officer Jembe Hussein in Matuga youth office in Kwale in September 2021.
Image: SHABAN OMAR