BY COAST MEDIA REPORTER
More than 900 radicalised youths who have undergoing de-radicalization programmes have successfully been integrated into the society within Mombasa County and its environs.
Through concerted efforts of the national, counties and partners in combating terrorism and violent extremism, the government has managed to thwart recruitment of the youths into terror groups.
“We have achieved great success since we started this programme. If you look at the number of those who have transformed and newly radicalised, we can say, for the last two years, we have almost zero cases of youths being recruited into radicalization activities,” says Mombasa county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo.
Responding to media questions at Mombasa Women Hall on July 14, 2021, the commissioner said the reformed youths have been induced into meaningful income generating activities.
Mr Kitiyo, was attending a youth forum on preventing and countering violent extremism through artivism, added that the government’s proactive measures were bearing fruits in the war against violent extremism.
“Some of those youths have been given boats to start fishing. Boda-boda (motorcycles), tuktuk (rickshaws) and money to start businesses and earn decent income,” he said.
According to him the government will not relax in its efforts to wipe out terrorism and violent extremism activities in Mombasa and elsewhere.
Stringent measures have ensured a major decline in the prevalence of extremist groups while most of the radical youths have been engaged in diverse activities and empowerment projects to be self-reliant.
Head of Prevention and Resilience Njenga Miiri says different approaches have been used to counter terrorism and violent extremism programme through involvement of key stakeholders. This has drastically reduced terror attacks, radicalization and recruitment of youths by terror networks.
“The success of this programme is due to several measures we have applied in fighting terrorism and radicalization. That is why we are continuing to record fewer terror incidences,” he adds.
The government has also put in place an elaborate amnesty and disengagement programme targeting youths and women lured into the terror networks.
“We now have the national strategy for countering violent terrorism which has different components dealing with rehabilitation of youths and women whose spouses had joined terror network,” he says.
The forum was organized by five Coast based civil societies including the National Counter Terrorism Centre, and director of Counter Violent Extremism (VCE) at National Police Service, Denis Okadapau.
Some 30 youths drawn from different parts of Coast region converged at Women Hall in Mombasa to participate in the forum themed “Artivism as a tool of preventing and countering violent terrorism among youth”.
The programme is part of Sh800 million Swedish government funded counter violent extremism programme in 27 counties, according to Mr Jackson Obare, Regional Manager ForumCiv organization.
Haki Afrika executive director Hussein Khalid says the youth art festival is part of innovative approaches used by different actors to educate youth and make them aware of the dangers of violent extremism and terrorism.
“As the county, we have seen how violent extremism and counter terrorism activities have affected us. This is an inborn issue that we have to face and take its fight a notch higher,” he adds.
(Edited byMwakera Mwajefa)