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January 22, 2019

Careful, you might worsen youth radicalisation, Muhuri tells security forces

A file photo of Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) Executive Director Hassan Abdille at his office in Mombasa county. /MKAMBURI MWAWASI
A file photo of Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) Executive Director Hassan Abdille at his office in Mombasa county. /MKAMBURI MWAWASI

Security forces run the risk of unwittingly radicalising more youths and playing right into the hands of violent extremist groups.

Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) said this on Saturday noting the need for the forces to change tack.

“Muhuri believes extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances are not the solutions," Executive Director Hassan Abdille said in a statement.

"[These strategies] polarise, strengthen and play straight into the narrative of violent extremist groups whose intentions are to place communities at loggerheads with security agencies."

Abdille noted that killings and disappearances at the Coast have created problems for human rights activists who have made deliberate moves to counter radicalisation and violent extremism.

“Counter-terrorism measures, which involve extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, are counterproductive and will only embolden and aggravate the situation,” he noted.

“They also feed into the terrorism narrative where vulnerable communities and individuals that are aggrieved get recruited into extremist groups."

He added that the unlawful handling of insecurity cases irreparably dents efforts that the government, Civil Society Organisations such as Muhuri and others have made in bridging the gap between communities and security forces.

The Muhuri boss said strict adherence to the rule of law, without prejudice, is the surest way to dealing with insecurity without radicalising more youths.

Human rights activists say that as many as 81 persons have either been killed by security forces or disappeared mysteriously at the Coast in the last one year.

Read: Al Shabaab recruiting more child fighters, HRW warns in latest report

Also read: Kenya and South Sudan must find, compensate missing activists - rights groups

On Thursday, reports emerged that at least 15 pastoralists in Tana River have mysteriously disappeared from November last year.

In a tell-all meeting of families, it was said that children as young as 15 have been picked from grazing fields by suspected security officers.

The families pointed fingers at the Kenya Wildlife Services and Kenya Defence Forces but the two agencies have denied the claims.

KWS senior warden John Wambua told the Star on Friday that no reports have been made.

“I don’t have any information about this. There is nowhere I can inquire because it has not been reported … we don’t have records of those who disappeared,” he said on phone.

KDF spokesperson David Obonyo declined to comment and there hasn't been a response to an email from the public affairs unit.

More on this: Tana River horror: Tales of killing, forceful disappearances facing pastoralists

Also read: Appeal to arm Tana River residents to fight Shabaab

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