Mar 4, 2019

Impact of Global Terrorism on the East African Region

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The United Nations declares global terrorism among the critical global issues of the 21st century.  Since the popularization of the concept in the late 1990s, there has been a steady upsurge of attack with a particular city being hit every other month. The sporadic nature of these attacks has left many of what would be called uninvolved parties grossly affected. Local studies on the matter reveal that terrorism has had an overwhelming impact on East African Nations, especially Kenya.

Regional terrorist groups like the Al Shabaab has been using the country to raise its international profile while other groups, less known in the region, have been carrying out operations affecting the country in one way or the other. A good case study is an incident involving the Quds Force members. The name refers to an elite group of Iranian’s Revolutionary Guard which has been linked to numerous covert missions and terror attacks.  The two members of the said groups are implicated in a scheme one would think is the pitch for a new Tom Cruise movie.  They allegedly duped the Iranian ambassador out of an undisclosed amount of money with the promise to arrange for the covert release of two Iranian nationals detained in Kenya for the terrorist attack links. Once the two were released, they were to be smuggled out of the country.

Accordingly, the effects of such events can be felt far and wide with some being slower than others.  From the above case, we can see how terrorism either directly or indirectly promotes the spread of corruption in an already economically struggling nation. There have been multiple accounts of corruption along the border allowing terrorist access into the country. Further economic effects can be felt with investors hesitating on investing in the local economy and the recent decline of the tourism industry.

Moreover, as evidenced by the aforementioned incident, there has been a steady international crime spill off in the region. The scheme shows just how vulnerable countries are to espionage and or physical terror attacks.  At this point, we can no longer claim it is not our war since even the residents feel the terrorism spill off on the nation. This is evidenced by increased security concerns, confusion, anxiety, and religious tension.

Furthermore, global terrorism exposes the country and the region to International dramas and geopolitical sagas. The casing in point shows how thinly we avoided a diplomatic row with Iran and the subsequent geopolitical mayhem the incident would have triggered.

To curb this rising menace, all stakeholders, government, citizens and international partners must put in place measures to eradicate it. This can be done through civic education, drills, civic action like NyumbaKumi initiative and intelligence sharing among east African neighbours.

Article Categories:
CounterTerrorism · Terrorism

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