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CALLS FOR CHANGE OF TACK

Work with border communities to win war on terror – MP Dahir

Daadab lawmaker says fight against violent extremism has largely failed because government has often deployed traditional and ineffective strategies

In Summary

• Daadab MP Mohamed Dahir says terrorism can only be defeated if communities living on the border with Somalia are involved.

• He said residents of border counties of Garissa, Wajir, Mandera and Lamu have a huge potential to resolve the security crisis if include in the security plans.

DISCIPLINED: KDF forces in Somalia.
KDF forces in Somalia. DISCIPLINED: KDF forces in Somalia.
Image: FILE

The government is finding it hard to win the war on terrorism because it has failed to incorporate local communities and largely stuck to traditional and ineffective strategies.

Daadab MP Mohamed Dahir on Thursday said terrorism can only be defeated if communities living on the border with Somalia are involved.

He said residents of border counties of Garissa, Wajir, Mandera and Lamu have a huge potential to resolve the security crisis if include in the security plans.

Speaking in Lamu, Dahir said tactics like closing the border, hunting and killing youths suspected of sympathising with terrorists and imposing curfews have proved ineffective and that it was time to change tact and allow local communities to play their part.

He said mobilising and educating the communities on their role can be very effective in dealing with terrorists, especially those already within the population.

“The war on terror has failed largely because the government hasn’t employed effective strategies. They insist on doing what they do daily but its time they change tack and work with border communities," Dahir said.

"If there is anything happening in these areas, these people know it even before security officers do."

He said the Nyumba Kumi Initiative hasn’t received the backing it requires for it to be effective in the regions.

“Nyumba Kumi would be the perfect strategy but it needs more backing than what we see now. If these border communities fully embraced this initiative, terrorists wouldn’t cross into Kenya and if they did, they will easily be spotted out. The army alone isn’t going to eliminate the issue of terrorism,” he said.

The lawmaker said unemployment was the biggest reason why youths were joining terrorist groups. “If the government improves infrastructure in these counties and provide job opportunities, insecurity and terrorism will be a thing of the past,” Dahir said.

Edited by Peter Obuya