• Representative of people with disability wants them involved in fighting extremism
• Deputy governor says county has initiated projects that will provide employment
As many as 250 youths from Bungoma county are believed to have been recruited into violent extremism by terrorist groups due to soaring unemployment.
Bungoma Champions of Peace Movement coordinator Elly Opondo said action should be taken by all counties to prevent and counter violent extremism.
"The youths from Bungoma and Shinyalu in Kakamega county are believed to have been lured," he said.
Opondo said the police service is the most affected by corruption and urged the government to fight the vice "since it is a breeding ground for terrorist activities".
A representative of persons living with disability Godfrey Simiyu said the national government should involve more PLDs in the fight against extremism, adding that they are the most affected in case of a terror attack.
“We should have more buildings with lifts and pathways that are favourable for people living with disability to escape,” Simiyu said.
Deputy Governor Charles Ngome said reducing youth unemployment and investing more resources in intelligence gathering will be the best way to curb infiltration of terrorists at the grassroots.
He said the county government had initiated flagship projects to reduce unemployment among youths.
“The county is using the labour-intensive approach in all our flagship projects to employ more youths instead of using technology that reduces the workforce and eventually leads to unemployment,” the deputy county chief said.
Head of strategy at the National Counterterrorism Centre Tom Adala said the county will develop action plans geared at denying terrorist groups opportunities to recruit and radicalise members.
Adala is leading a team that will assist counties in Western Kenya to develop action plans to counter violent extremism.
He said the exercise began two years ago in Mombasa, Garissa and Lamu counties, which had been hit hard by violent extremism. He said it will be rolled out all over the country to devolve the national strategy.
Three teams have been dispatched to Western, Central and Rift Valley regions where they will work concurrently to come up with a robust strategy that can be implemented.
Bungoma has already formed a county engagement forum that will choose five key pillars of the strategy that cover security and radicalisation cutting across education, gender, ideology, economic empowerment and media sectors.
Edited by R.Wamochie