The 9/11 attack that occurred in 2001 in NewYork came just three years after the attack on the US-Embassy in both Kenya and Tanzania. The attack was largely directed to the United States considering many casualties were citizens of US; however, it was also an assault on the whole world.
The Al Qaeda attack led by hijacker-pilots Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah would however be the last major attack by the terrorist group. However much the day represented escalation of blood thirst by this destructive group, it reminded Kenya of the 1998 attack that killed and grievously injured hundreds. Since then, Kenya has been on a joint fight against terrorism with the United States.
17years on, security measures are advanced and security loopholes that existed continue to be closed with sure intention. With the realisation of vulnerability to terrorist acts, authorities today have adopted security strategies that are being employed to prevent and counter violent extremism.
Countering terrorists militarily remains very crucial but not sufficient enough to destroy these groups and networks. Added to combative strategies are preventative and counter efforts that are rooted in citizen engagement. Being that the attacks are of great impact to both the government and civilians, the fight against violent extremists is now a collaborative effort.
Soft power presents a seamless sharing of information through several interactive platforms. These platforms provide education and sensitization on violent extremism, further helping the civilian understand terrorism and its impacts as well as processes leading to extremism. The community policing concept now implemented even in villages exposes security personnel to the situation on the ground, therefore making it hard for the terrorist to camouflage among citizens.
Security agencies work as one unit with a sole mission of providing adequate security to the citizenry. This majorly includes sharing of intel to prevent any cases of terrorists and wrongdoers escaping through the cracks of one-way communication. Formation of anti-terrorist units within all security bodies including the judiciary is just an example of the major advancements made in the government, not to forget regional military and peacekeeping collaboration, a good example being the participation of Kenya Defence Forces under AMISOM in the fight against Al Shabaab.
With the collaboration of Kenya’s allies, police and military officers among other security personnel have been provided with hi-tech equipment to aid in the war against terror, crimes and criminal syndicates as a way to increase efficacy of security agencies. The modern equipment that includes choppers, night vision goggles, armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and the assortment of police vehicles are in line with the new outlook in the wake of terror and rise of violent extremism.
The officers who are already equipped with training from experts carry out surveillance, communication, and counter attacks using drones and night vision cameras installed in modern armoured carriers. The equipment has played a big part in diminishing the Al Shabaab and other violent extremist factions both in Kenya and Somalia owing to the fact that these groups are not as equipped. Hi-Tech communication devices used by the officers allows real-time action once information is passed therefore facilitating action either preventive or counter.