Muslim clerics and police in Mombasa county have come up with strategies –including monthly security meetings in subcounties – to halt the rising wave of violence and crime.
Imams and Mombasa county security chiefs met on Monday at the county headquarters and discussed security and other issues hurting the region.
County commissioner Evans Achoki said despite the fact that extremism and radicalisation cases have gone down significantly over the last year, muggings and petty robberies are on the rise.
He said youth who abuse drugs have been terrorising and stealing from residents in Kisauni, Majengo, Likoni and Changamwe.
“There is also a looming danger of the youth being used by rogue politicians to cause violence as the country heads to the general election,” Achoki said.
“Instead of waiting for the matter to get out of hand, we have today met as leaders to forge a way forward. There is great need for religious leaders and the security personnel to work together to ensure peace prevails.”
He said security chiefs, religious leaders, women and youth leaders will meet once a month in each of the six Mombasa subcounties to discuss security.
Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya organising secretary Sheikh Khalifa said youth need to be advised and be involved in security matters.
“Previously, youth were being used to cause violence and participate in extremism, but if we work together, our region will be peaceful as it has been in the last one year,” he said.
Khalifa urged parents to watch over and advise their children. “Parents have a great role to play in raising their children. If we do not speak out of the bad morals among children, we shall continue losing them to drugs, mob justice or even police bullets,” he said.
In the last one year, Mombasa has not reported major terror attack after police killed several al Shabaab suspects.
Achoki said terror cells in the region have been dismantled, following good cooperation between the police, community, religious and political leaders.
The war on terror faced hurdles as imams and other religious leaders openly criticised and blamed police for extrajudicial killings.
There was no dialogue between police and the preachers on how best to fight terror, which has spread fast. The emergence of organised criminal groups is a major security issue.