For Kenyan college students, the university experience involves more than just term papers, final exams and all-night study sessions. It is a period where students meet new people and experience so many new things.
Joy Alunga a participant in the Lenga Ugaidi na talanta competition revealed that she participated in the short film counter terrorism competition because she wanted to inform her peers that radicalization happens in universities.
“It’s not mad people who become radicalized; it’s people like us. People, who dress neatly every day like I have dressed, are the people who get radicalized. It is not those people who you think, for example, have not gone to school. It is people like us who get radicalized,” said Joy.
Alunga who spoke to the organizers of the competition said the youth should take the front seat in the fight against terrorism. Radicalization and violent youth extremism were key themes of the competition.
“Radicalization is a result of the disappointment that young people are going through,” said Alunga, “That’s why they are vulnerable to these extremist groups such as Al Shabaab.
The recruiters, go to institutions, formal institutions like universities and target the brightest students,” In January 2018 it was established that 54 university students abandoned their studies to join terrorist groups in Somalia and Libya over the last three years. A number of those who fled have since been killed either in combat or executed after falling out with their commanders.
Ms Alunga has called on fellow university students to pay more attention to attractive job offers and money deals. The third year student has called for increased vigil in learning institutions.