KENYA: Uhuru Kenyatta seeks US help to fight terrorism
The United States of America will support the Kenyan Government to protect and secure its porous borders in the fight against terror.
Speaking to the Nation in Mombasa, US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said the atrocities committed by the al-Shabaab in the country were a serious security threat that would have adverse impact to the stability and livelihoods of the people.
Mr Godec said President Uhuru Kenyatta had put a specific request for assistance from the Barack Obama-led administration to protect Kenya’s porous borders in the fight against terrorism.
“We realise it’s hard to secure the very long and difficult border stretch. We will ensure it is done and deal with this underlying problem of the al Shabaab in Somalia,” he said.
The US would support Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to deal with extremism in Somalia and with local radicalism that had ideologies to perpetuate violence.
He said the sporadic terror attacks in Kenya were a signal that the terrorism threat was real and must be stopped.
“We have an obligation to stand with Kenya and our commitment is to help overcome the challenge,” he said.
“Those that carry on violence activities need to be arrested and put in prison, since there is no justification in what motivates them,” Mr Godec said.
“With sophistication in terrorism, we will continue to train the security forces with latest evolving technologies to proactively deal with the menace,” he said.
He affirmed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was working with Kenyan security agencies in sharing information to deal with the terrorism crimes.
“In the recent days, we collaborated with the government in tracking and sharing vital clues into the arrest of bomb suspects that were found with bombs in a vehicle that targeted to commit a heinous act,” he said.
After a closed door meeting with civil society leaders at the Mombasa Yatch Club, Mr Godec said the US was working with the Human Rights Organisation to support programs that address terrorism threats.
“The US is concerned with the serious number of attacks that target innocent people at the coast region .We urge the country to take responsibility to stop the violence,” he said.
On the conflicting roles in working relations between the civil society and government in dealing with terror suspects ,he said good human rights laws enforces security for the country to make it secure.
“It is a challenge everywhere. It’s important for the civil society and government to work together. They cannot mutual work in exclusion,” Mr Godec said and asked Kenyans to be more vigilant and report information to prevent attacks.
“In the US, we have a campaign on terror that says, “See something, say something. If adopted, many lives can be saved in Kenya,” he said.
Commenting of the radicalization issue that had seen youths flashing out preachers and taking control of mosques, the US ambassador said it was important to have dialogue with the youths through open communication to persuade them from violence stance.
“It’s time to bring those inclined closer by providing them with good education. In the process, it will be the start of the de -radicalisation process,” he said.
On the security of Americans in Kenya, he said US government had the obligation to warn its citizens of the threat but had no restriction for them not to visit the country as tourist.
“It’s a procedure to inform our people of the risk .This happens in all the countries and we are not targeting Kenya,” he said.
Haki Africa executive director Hussein Khalid accompanied by Huria executive director Yusuf Lule Mwatsefu said he complained that there was violation of rights and infringement of fundamental freedom by the Anti terror Police Unit through funding from the US.
“We told him of the efforts to narrow the gap between the state security and the community particularly the youths in the region ,”Mr Khalid said.