Kenya Police under the ‘Peace Cop Brigade’ and Youth in Isolo have taken up steps in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in a new programme that brings both the civilians and forces together for social activities.
In conjunction with a Community Based Organization, youth both female and male engage in games and other field activities with the latest one having being held at the Isiolo Police Headquarters in a bid to promote cohesiveness.
“The activities are bearing fruits in that the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) has confirmed a decline in the numbers of youth disappearing to join Al Shabaab and other violent extremist groups from our county,” said Ms. Muhamud.
The Executive Director said they have been making efforts to create interactions between the youth and the police through a unit named the peace cop brigade that is headed by senior inspector Martin Bundi.
She said her organization noted a gap in the relationship between the police and the youth and decided to move to all the wards to help break the ice and enable the youth to provide important information to the security organs. Ms. Muhamud said during the activity some youth disclosed that their friends who have joined extremist groups have made phone calls to them telling them how they were in lucrative employments a disclosure that helped Peace Link to advise them accordingly.
She further disclosed that there were a number of Early Warning and Command Centres with telephone hotlines which she hoped the youth will use to report not only violent extremism but also any other lawlessness.
The ATPU boss Peter Musyoki lauded Isiolo Peace link for assisting him to handle the issue of violent extremism and undertook to support the CBO in taking the war on terrorism into another level. The ATPU boss said it is the youth and not elders who go to Somalia to join Al Shabaab because the youth are physically strong but financially vulnerable.
“The youth lack commitment to their religious affiliation; hence, are easily misled by the elderly in the name of religious extremism and for their own economic interests,” said Musyoki. He said those who understand Islam religion properly say there is nothing like killing in the name of religion yet some youth are misguided to believe that if they conduct a terror attack they will go straight to heaven.
The ATPU boss acknowledged the efforts of CBOs and the communities at large that have brought cases of youth disappearance almost to zero during this year even during the month of Ramadhan from where they were being radicalized in the past.
Musyoki made it clear that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam or ethnicity and that the recruiters are now targeting the least expected communities like those in central Kenya and lower Eastern region and not the Cushitic communities.
Peace Cop Brigade Senior Sergeant Bundi said the idea started by Isiolo Peace Link is a major step in the slow but sure process of cementing the relationship between the youth and the police and will save the vulnerable youth from being recruited into extremist groups.