Meru a potential al Shabaab target, leaders say

Kiraitu says there have been many attempted attacks but security agencies foiled them

In Summary
  • Many youths suffer poverty, apathy and hopelessness, which predisposes them to recruitment by extremists
  • County will revitalise Nyumba Kumi initiative in all subcounty to improve and manage security

Meru county commissioner Allan Machari and Governor Kiraitu Murungi have appealed to residents to provide information on youths recruited by terror groups.

Machari said the government will start monitoring social media to ensure there are no threats within the county and youths are not exposed to terror groups.

“We now have a mechanism as security agencies to aid fight against extremism," he said.

Under the economic pillar, young people who are vulnerable due to poverty will be supported to avoid recruitment into violent extremism.

The county will revitalise the Nyumba Kumi initiative through all subcounty committees to improve and manage security,” Machari said.

He added: “The greatest source of information is you, mwananchi in your village. Pass that accurate information to security agencies in good time. We don’t want secondary information like, we were attacked yesterday. We want to hear there are people planning an attack in our village tomorrow, so we take action.”

Kiraitu said Meru is a potential terror target but security agencies have repulsed and arrested suspects.

“You have heard threats by al Shabaab. We have some Meru youths recruited to the terror group. I thank our county security team for the good job of securing us because we have had no attack in Meru. Not that they didn’t attempt. They have tried several times but they are arrested and taken to Nairobi without many knowing,” he said.

Kiraitu said crime rates will fall if the youth of the country are catered for.

“Maybe some youths are educated but do not have jobs. They are frustrated and fall prey to terror groups by being promised dollar-paying jobs,” Kiraitu said.

He said youths suffer poverty, apathy, hopelessness and many are jobless which are the main causes of extremism and insecurity.


"My administration will continue working closely with the national government to address youth poverty, apathy, unemployment and other challenges such as drug and alcohol abuse, which are major problems that are pushing the massive youthful population in the county into crime, extremist violence and terrorism," Kiraitu said.

Kiraitu ordered removal of camels along the Meru-Isiolo border, blaming them for escalating insecurity.

"My government will not allow any further incursion of armed camel herders from neighbouring counties to disrupt the border residents and their farming activities," he said.