TERRORISM

FBI partners with Kenya to establish operations base in Nairobi

In Summary

• The Federal Bureau of Investigation-FBI and Department of State have partnered to assist Kenya in creating the first Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) to be located outside of the United States.

• Following the attack at Dusit-D2 hotel that claimed 20 lives, there was a pressing need for a joint task force that could be met through FBI’s training expertise combined with the State Department Bureau of Counterterrorism’s (CT Bureau) capacity-building efforts.

Some of the Kenyan Intelligence team attending the training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia
Some of the Kenyan Intelligence team attending the training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia
Image: FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation-FBI and Department of State have partnered to assist Kenya in creating the first Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) to be located outside of the United States.

According to its National Press Service, the bureau said the Kenyan-led JTTF will be a multi-agency counterterrorism investigative force in Nairobi, Kenya.

The announcement was made on Monday after Kenya sent 42 of its police and intelligence officers to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, where they will spend the next 12 weeks undergoing counterterrorism training to prepare them for the establishment of an operations base in Nairobi.

 
 

“Personnel drawn from Kenya’s law enforcement and national security agencies will learn about the FBI JTTF techniques, protocols, and tactics and will work in coordination with FBI personnel in Kenya,” read part of the statement.

The team was led by the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti.

The attendees will also be trained and equipped to handle sensitive counterterrorism intelligence shared with the Kenyan government.

The announcement from Washington DC said the initiative funded by the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism, is in line with U.S. efforts to enable foreign partners to successfully investigate and prosecute terrorists before they conduct attacks.

The statement said an attack in 2019 by the al-Shabaab terrorist group on a Nairobi hotel that left more than 20 people dead, including one American, helped lead to the formation of the task force.

As a result, there was a pressing need for a joint task force that could be met through the FBI’s training expertise combined with the State Department Bureau of Counterterrorism’s (CT Bureau) capacity-building efforts.

“The initiative to establish a Kenyan Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF-K) began after the al-Shabaab terrorist attack on the DusitD2 Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 16, 2019,” read part of the statement.

 
 

Ambassador Nathan Sales who is the coordinator for counterterrorism said the FBI is proud to have the opportunity to work with Kenyan law enforcement partners on this initiative.

“The JTTF for Kenya will support the interagency approach required to successfully investigate and prosecute terrorists before they conduct attacks. I look forward to this unit standing up and the results that will surely come,”  he said.

His sentiments were echoed by the Assistant Director of the International Operations Division Charles Spencer who said the first Kenyan JTTF will allow for a sharing of experience, knowledge, and capabilities that will enhance our shared commitment to countering terrorism around the world.

Spencer said the Bureau it has over the years supported Kenya’s efforts to improve its law enforcement capacity to defend its borders and become a counterterrorism leader in East Africa.

Kinoti in his acceptance remarks said the U.S government has been a valued partner in combating terrorism.

“I appreciate the effort and resources the FBI and Department of State have dedicated toward improving the capabilities of our officers through training, experience, and insight. Due to globalization and the rapid advancement in technology, terrorists and their sympathizers have also changed tactics and devised new methods to further their agenda,” Kinoti said.

He said endeavors such as the Kenyan Joint Terrorism Task Force will allow for a multi-agency approach to achieve common objectives and assist us in obtaining the upper hand against the enemy.”

The FBI will administer the curriculum and provide training with assistance from other agencies, as applicable.

The FBI and the CT Bureau will collaboratively assess the program.

On completion of the training, the team is expected to adopt methodologies used by U.S. in handling sensitive counterterrorism intelligence shared with the Kenyan government.

Investigations conducted by JTTF-K will be carried out in accordance with international law enforcement standards and in comportment with human rights.

Legal authorities will be derived from the Kenyan constitution and international treaties.

“Cases will be prosecuted in Kenya’s courts, which promote the U.S. goal of enabling foreign partners to successfully counter terrorist threats,” the statement quoted.